Pregnancy week by week



Potty training

                                  Learning to use potties and toilets

All children learn at their own pace and in their own way. You cannot force potty training! If you do, you will make your child anxious and turn the whole issue into a battleground. Give encouragement and be generous with your praises at every successful attempt at using the potty. If you give it time and patience with lots of praise and support, you will get there.

Potty training is much easier when children are aged 18 months and upwards. As around this time toddler often knows they are opening their bowels. They may stop playing for a moment and stand still with a look of concentration. They might also tell you they have done a poo or a wee or tug at their nappy. By the age of two, some children will be dry during the day; however, this is still quite early. By the age of three, nine out of 10 children are dry most of days. Even then, all children have the odd accident, especially when they are excited or upset or absorbed in doing something else.

Bowel control often comes before bladder control. Hence, your little one may be wet in the night for some time after they are dry during the day. Toilet training is not something you can teach in a day. It may take weeks or months with minor relapses if your child becomes sick. It usually takes a little longer to learn to stay dry throughout the night. Although most children learn this between the ages of three and five, it is estimated that a quarter of three-year olds and one in six five year olds wet their bed.

When to start potty training

It helps to remember that you really cannot force your child to use a potty. If they are not ready, you will not be able to make them. In time they will want to use it; your child will not want to go to school in nappies any more than you would want them to! In the meantime, the best thing you can do is to encourage the behavior you want.

Most parents start thinking about potty training when their child is around 18-24 months, but there is no perfect time. It’s probably easier to start in the summer, when washing dries better and there are fewer clothes to take  off, and at a time when you can have a clear run at it, without any great disruptions or changes to your child’s or your family’s routine.

You can also try to work out when your child is ready. There are a number of signs that your child is starting to develop bladder control:
  • He knows when he has a wet or dirty nappy.

  • He gets to know when he is passing urine, and may tell you he is doing it.

  • He knows when he needs to wee, and may say so in advance

  • He is over 18 months

  • He  can follow instructions such as sit on your potty

  • He has a dry nappy for few hours at a stretch

  • He  can pull down his pants

  • He is fascinated by toilets or potties
You will probably find that potty training is fastest if your child has started to show any of the above signs before you start. If you start earlier, be prepared for a lot of accidents as your child learns.


How to start potty training
  • Try leaving a potty around where your child can see it and get to know what it’s for. It helps to let your child see you using the toilet and explain what you are doing.
  • Show him the potty and explain him how he needs to say or indicate when he needs to wee.

  • For the first few days or couple of weeks, sit him on his potty every half hour or so. Encourage him to use the potty after he’s woken up.

  • No nappies is the order of the day once you start potty training. Your toddler will then feel the difference and start to associate going to the toilet with the big puddle he is standing in.

  • Be prepared for lots of puddles, and never punish your toddler for accidents. If your child slips up, just mop it up and wait for next time. It usually takes a while to get the hang of it. If you don’t make a fuss when they have an accident then they will not feel anxious and worried and are more likely to be successful next time. Your child will be delighted when they succeed, and a little praise from you will go long way.

  • It is best not to give sweets as a reward, as this can end up causing more problems. When the time is right, your child will want to use the potty, and they will just be happy to get it right.

  • If you do want to reward your child, it needs to be small, as you will give it often, so stickers and chart work well. Start by giving a sticker, for just sitting on the potty, and then give one when he produces something. Once toilet training is established, you may reward him to use the potty prior to a long journey.

Let the training sessions be a fun learning experience for your child. Do not rush and let your child learn at his own pace. This will reduce the stress on both you and your child. There is no standard timeline for potty training as every child is ready at a different time. What you need is time and a calm attitude. If your child is upset by the idea, just put the nappy back on and leave it a few more weeks before trying again.  There is no point starting until your child’s ready, otherwise it will only take you longer and you will both end up feeling a failure.

Dry through the night

Don’t rush trying to get your toddler dry through the night. Wait before you do away with night time nappies until day time dryness has been comfortably achieved and he has had some nights in which the nappy is dry in the morning. Discuss with your child the issue of leaving nappies off at night and put a plastic sheet under the sheets. Be relaxed and calm. Reassure your child it doesn’t matter if they wet the bed and that you can wash the sheets and change their pyjamas. Let them know they are bound to get the hang of it soon.

Some common problems with potty training, and how to deal with them

1)      My child is not interested in using potty at all

Try not to worry. Remind yourself that, in the end, your child will want to be dry for their own sake. If they start to see the whole business as a battle of wills with you, it will be much harder.

2)      My child just keeps wetting themselves

You have two options. You could go back to nappies for a while and try again in a few weeks, or you could keep going but be prepared to do a lot of changing and washing of clothes. Whatever you decide, try not to let it get you or your child down and don’t put pressure on them. Try talking to other parents about how they coped. You also don’t want to confuse your child by stopping and starting too often, so if you do stop, leave it for a while before you start again.

3)      Just when I think things are going well, there is an accident

Accidents will happen for a while, so it’s always good to make sure your child knows how pleased you are when they use the potty or manage to stay dry, even if it’s just for a short time. Even though accidents can be very frustrating, you should try not to show this to your child. Explain that you want them to try to use the potty or toilet next time. If your child starts to worry, the problem could get worse.

4)      My child was dry for a while, but now they have started wetting again

If your child has been dry for a while either at night or during the day, or both, and then starts wetting again, there may be an emotional reason. Disruption-like moving house, or a new baby arriving-or a change of routine can often have such an effect. The best thing you can do is be understanding and sympathetic. Your child will almost certainly be upset about the lapse and will not be doing it on purpose.                              




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