Monday, 12 October 2015

Potty Training part 2 - nappy free

Your toddler shows all the signs of being ready to potty train and you have been preparing them for a few weeks. Now is the time to say goodbye to nappies!

Choose your day

Some children will simply announce that they don't want to wear nappies anymore, often at the least convenient moment! If you are choosing the day yourself, however, there are some things you will want to bear in mind. Choose a day when you will be at home with very little else going on, if you have any other children you may want to pick a time when they will be out of the house so that you can concentrate on your toddler. It is also best to avoid potty training when there are other changes in your little one's life - avoid holidays, and leave it at least a month either side (preferably two or three) of house moves and bigger changes.

A few days before you start it is a good idea to take your toddler on a special shopping trip to buy pants and a potty, step stool or toilet seat. Explain to them that they are a big boy or girl now and very soon they will wear the pants and use the new potty, more about that in part 1

First things first

It may seem obvious but the first step on potty training day is to take the nappies away. When your toddler gets dressed let them choose a pair of pants to wear and remind them that they will be using the potty today. Even if they have several accidents you need to avoid putting your little one back in nappies or nappy substitutes such as pull ups, except for situations like long car journeys. The exception is when you realise that your child really isn't ready and you are going to go back to nappies for several months. Swapping and changing more frequently can confuse a toddler. You don't want to suggest there is any choice or decision about whether or not they wear nappies, it's pants all the time when awake.


During the day you will probably find that your toddler will have some accidents. When that happens try not to show any disgust or displeasure, just say something like "Oops, did you forget to go to the potty?" and take them to sit on the potty anyway. Even if they just sit there you are reinforcing the idea that this is what they should do. Then involve your toddler in taking her wet clothes to the washing machine, finding dry clothes to put on, helping with any other clearing up and washing her hands.


When you do have a success you will want to reward your toddler. Depending on your child then your approval, a hug and a well done may be all that is needed. More tangible rewards are often not needed. If you do feel that you need something more then a sticker or a special reward chart may do the job.

A lot of people use a small sweet such as a chocolate button or jelly tot. They are small enough that you can give quite a few over the day without over doing it. You should only need to give those sorts of rewards for a week or two before they are no longer needed, after a while start to "forget" to give it, or switch to offering one at the end of an accident free day.

Another reward for day one is to let your child phone someone special, such as a Grandparent, to tell them how well they have done. Make sure the recipient of the phone call has been primed so they can be suitably enthusiastic, and ask them not to quiz your toddler on how many accidents they had. The point is that they tried!

At the end of the day

At bedtime, praise your little one for trying very hard and for the successes they have had during the day, without mentioning any accidents. Ask them to choose a pair of pants to wear tomorrow and lay them out ready. You will also need to explain that even big children sometimes wear nappies at night because you can't go to the potty when you are sleeping.   Reassure your toddler that he is still a big boy and will wear pants again in the morning.