Monday, 5 October 2015

Potty Training part 1- before you start

You have been changing nappies for quite long enough, your tiny baby has grown into a surprisingly big toddler and you think she is ready to be potty trained. Here are some things you might like to do before you take the nappies away, since its so much easier for your toddler to learn one thing at a time!

Think about clothes

Children can have accidents while standing next to the potty, simply because they couldn't get their clothes off. When you take away nappies you will probably need to change your child's clothes, getting rid of vests with poppers, tights, dungarees and jeans in favour of  short skirts or loose trousers with elasticated waists. It helps to get your little one used to the new clothes now and practice pulling trousers up and down. Show her how to do this and ask her to help when he gets dressed and at each nappy change.

Talk about the loo

Many children who are ready to be potty trained will be very interested in the loo. As embarrassing as this might be, it is a good sign. Let them come with you when you go to the loo, talk about what you are doing, "Now I need to pull up my trousers, then I can wash my hands." You can even show them how to tear off a sheet of loo roll and have them pass it to you. All this interest is just your child's way of learning, so help them to learn.

You might also like to get some books about potty training. There are many books written about characters who use the potty and these can be great. I would also include books like "Aliens Love Underpants!" by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort or "Everybody Poos" by
Taro Gomi. A bit of humour is always a good thing!

Watch your child

As you are playing together, keep an eye on your little one. You might notice that he goes quiet, sits very still or shows some other sign just before you have to change his nappy. Next time you see that behaviour you can make a comment like "are you doing a poo now? We will need to change your nappy won't we." This way you can draw your child's attention to the feeling of doing a poo (as opposed to the feeling of having a dirty nappy) and give them the words to express it. Be sure to smile, though, even if you don't really want to wipe another dirty bottom!

Watch your language

Do you hate changing dirty nappies? I doubt anyone would list it as a favourite part of the day, but do make sure that you don't let your child know it. If you have said things like "Urgh, what a horrid smelly poo!" or "phew, just wee, that's good!" then now is a good time to change that. Make sure your little one knows that everyone does poos, and that you are pleased when they do since it shows that their body is working. You don't want them to feel that doing a poo would upset you, or that it's preferable to avoid it!

Go shopping

Just a few days before you start potty training go on a special shopping trip. Make this a special outing, one to one if possible, and have fun! It's all part of building the excitement for this new stage.

I must admit, I really don't like pull-ups. Children don't really notice the difference between these and nappies so they don't have much motivation to use the potty. There is also a danger that you might not notice when your little one has an accident and you want to notice straight away so that you can remind them to use the potty. I suggest you take your child to the shops so she can choose her new "big girl pants" for herself.  Look at all the options and let her choose whichever ones she wants. You want her to be proud of her pants and enjoy wearing them.

You can buy a potty at the same time, in her choice of colour and style. When choosing, do consider stability and how easy it is to clean. I have found that potties that convert into steps or collapse for transport can come apart in use. While those that have cushioned seats, removable seats for the big toilet, musical parts etc can be difficult to clean as there are lots of little nooks and crannies. My own preference is a simple potty made of one piece of smooth plastic, which can even be washed at high temperatures in the (otherwise empty!) dishwasher. That also happens to be the cheapest option!