Potty training is one of those things that can be very confusing when to start. I got a lot of mixed comments from various people about my son and when he should be starting.
I started getting asked and feeling some pressure about it when my son was only 18months old. For me personally it was the older generations that were telling me he should be starting but then the younger generation would say he’s far too young and don’t start too early as he will take longer to do it etc.

So when is the right time to start and what are some tips on how to do it?

The simple answer? EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT! We as parents often get caught up with comparing our child to others. There’s even some that say girls are ready quicker than boys but honestly it just depends on if your child is ready or not. If they are not you are going to have a hard time.

So how do you know if they are ready?

Here are some signs they might be ready. I would recommend waiting until they are doing all or most of these before starting.

1. They hide to do number 2 and announce they’ve done it after.
2. They can undress themselves
3. Verbal enough to tell you they need to go to the toilet
4. Dislike being in wet nappies
5. Fewer wet nappies – this could be a sign they are holding their bladder longer.
6. An interest in what you are doing when you use the toilet.

So you’ve ticked all of these boxes, what now?

1. Providing your toddler isn’t scared of the “big toilet” I’d recommend skipping the potty and trying to train on the toilet. This will eliminate having to train again from potty to toilet. You will need either a frame that goes over the toilet with a step or you can get toilet seats with the junior seat attached already from places like Bunnings.

2. Pick a time where you can be at home for at least 3 whole days. If your training is interrupted by trips out of the house to shops etc and you put the nappy back on it can confuse them.

3. Buy a bulk load of underwear (I mean a lot!) you can make it fun and also start to start to prepare them by letting them help choose the underwear.

4. Explain to them what’s happening and prepare them. Get them familiar with the terminology of potty, wee’s, undies etc. You can do this by making them feel excited about undies, reading a book about potty training or (and this is what I personally did) look up kids videos on YouTube and there’s plenty of songs about potty training including some done by cocomelon and the wiggles.

5. A lot of people say to start off with them being naked from the waist down at first so it may be worth while starting in the warmer months. Personally I had better luck with putting him straight in the underwear as he could feel he was wet when he went.

6. There’s going to be accidents. So be prepared for that. They can get very emotional, upset and embarrassed about accidents so make sure you tell them it’s okay, lots of cuddles and reassurance!

7. Set a timer. At first I set a timer for every 15 minutes and offered him to go to the toilet each time the timer went off. After a couple of accidents you’ll learn roughly how often they go so use the timer to offer them the toilet or potty around that time. Once they start to pee in the potty often, gradually push the time out by a couple of minutes each time. This will help them learn to hold until their bladder is fuller.

8. When that first wee reaches the toilet or potty (even if it’s only a dribble) praise like you’ve never praised before! Make a huge fuss and get them excited! Sticker books or food treats are also great!

9. Convert to pull ups for sleep times and call them “sleep undies”. Offer the toilet as soon as they wake and before they go to bed.

10. Once they are going regularly in the toilet offer them to go before you leave the house. If they are still learning you can get car seat training pads to put on the seat in case of an accident. Pack lots of spare undies and clothes.

11. Leave a portable potty in the car. A great hack also is to line the potty with a nappy, so if your little one decides they need to do number 2 while out you can line the bottom of the potty with a nappy and once finished fold the nappy up to throw in the bin leaving them potty clean for the next use.

Did you have anything else that worked for you?

Happy training!