Preparing for potty training

A long time before you start toilet training your boy is mentally preparing.  They have seen what you have been doing and watched, often at rather uncomfortably close quarters, all the goings on in the bathroom.  They have seen you standing, sitting, reaching for paper, pulling up pants and washing hands.

But even as your boy is subconsciously preparing, you should take a few weeks or months to plant the seed of what is to come in their head.

Start with:

  • Talk to your toddler about what you are doing when you are in the bathroom going for a wee or pee.
  • Use ‘toilety’ words around them and talk openly about wee and poo – make it a natural bodily function, not something to be embarrassed about.
  • Show your child the toilet and explain what it is for.  Let them help you with paper or flushing.
  • Get a few key pieces of equipment like a potty chair and a toilet training seat and leave them around the bathroom.  Tell your boy that one day they will use the potty or the toilet but that its no big deal and you’ll do it when he is ready.  Don’t encourage use until the child gives you clear signs that he is ready – at this stage the equipment is just for familiarisation – it will get your boy used to them and it won’t be a surprise later.

Then as you get closer towards the time you are thinking might be right for both you and your child:

  • Start talking increasingly regularly about what is going on in the toilet and announce when you are going there.  It may make you feel awkward but let your child see your wee or poo.
  • Make it sound like fun – you can find ways of having a laugh, even if it means making yourself feel a bit stupid – make up games and even pull a face when you go to the loo to emphasize what you are doing.
  • Get some children’s books which relate to potty training and read them to your boy.   It will help him understand that this is a process that everyone goes through.

Don’t rush it.   Ideally you need to wait until your toddler tells you he is ready.

So, how will I know when my boy might be ready to start potty training?  We say:

  • One of the most likely things is he will start to tell you that he has done a wee or poo in his nappy.
  • You might find him trying to sit on one of the pieces of equipment you have left around the house
  • He might start trying to refuse the nappy more regularly, and talk about wees and poos at the same time.

What NOT to do at this stage:

  • Don’t force your expectations or timescales on your boy. There is no set age to potty train your child and different children are ready at different times in their development.
  • Don’t be strict with your toddler trying to enforce a start to potty training – you don’t want to create a power struggle – your child will likely win and the likelihood is the process will be harder and more problematic.
  • Don’t think a lack of readiness on your boy’s part is a bad reflection on you or your boy. Keep positive and it will happen when the time is right
  • Don’t PANIC or get stressed out about it; you need to try and make the whole process including the preparation stage as fun and rewarding for all of you as possible.

Next – What you will need