Potty Training – Wee Can Do It!

Potty training, all parents will have to go through it with their little one. An often difficult and sometimes a messy task, it will differ from child to child, so if you begin to become frustrated, try not to compare your child with others. Children are only able to control their bladder and bowel when they’re physically ready and when they want to be dry and clean. It may be frustrating and time consuming for you, but your child is still growing, developing and learning. In addition, it’s often quite common that children will learn to control their bowel before they can control their bladder.

Children often learn to control their bowel before their bladder

You may think about starting to potty train your little one when your child is around 18 to 24 months but realistically there is no perfect time of when this should actually begin. It’s advisable to start during the warmer months, just because of several reasons such as fewer clothes will have to be rushed off and also washed nappies will dry much quicker in the summer sun. Once your child reaches the age of two, they may start to become dry during the day, yet this is still quite early age for them. By the age of 3, nine out of ten of children are dry most days. However, it is still common for a child to have a little accident every now and then and even more so if they become excited, upset or distracted by something else. It will often take a little longer for your child to stay dry throughout the night, and again it is very common for young children to wet the bed. It’s estimated that a quarter of 3 year old’s and one in six 5 year old’s will regularly wet the bed.

A product which you may hear about regularly very soon is the My Carry Potty, founded by Amanda Jenner, who was very recently just on The One Show promoting the Carry Potty. On top of the great T.V exposure, Amanda has now been chosen to front a potty training initiative which will allow you as parents to share your stories and experiences of potty training.

My Carry Potty

From next week (Monday 15th July), a 6 week campaign titled ‘Wee Can Do It’ will start. The campaign will kick off with the results of a survey stating the highs and lows of teaching your little one how to use a potty. It is hoped that the campaign will create a real sense of enjoyment around potty training as well as getting parents to share their experiences of what they have had to go through. Wee Can Do It will include the nation’s largest potty training survey results, week by week themes, downloadable fact sheets, live web chats, competitions and much more! The whole aim of the campaign is to get parents to share their tips and experiences with one another, concluding that all together, potty training will become a much more pleasant and happier experience for all that are involved.

The Importance Of Play Mats

Playmats offer a range of benefits, and serve a very important purpose in helping to encourage the development of your baby. From a parent’s perspective a playmat which includes plenty of interesting toys, materials and activities helps to entertain their child. Babies can become bored very easily, and as a parent it can be tiring being the sole source of entertainment! Activity mats can be something a child enjoys playing with and exploring on their own, or with a parent.

It’s also a good deal healthier and safer for a young child to lie on a playmat rather than the floor. Floors aren’t the most hygienic places to have faces, or little fingers that regularly get put in mouths. A baby’s immune system is far from being properly developed, and a machine washable playmat allows your child to lie on the floor safely. If you have very hard floors a soft, cushioned playmat is also very much more comfortable for them.

But of course activity mats are also very important for helping to develop a whole range of skills and abilities. Start by placing your baby on their tummy for a minute or two at a time, building up to two or three minutes at a time once or twice a day. This will help develop their neck muscles in preparation for crawling and eventually walking.

We know that from the moment your baby stands up it can be daunting, because we feel they can fall down or get hurt. But this is a natural stage of the growing process. Don’t miss our article on how to keep your baby safe when they start to stand alone.

Then roll them onto their back so that they can play with the toys hanging down from the bar across the top. These encourage them to reach out, swat the toys, pull on them and explore what they can do, developing hand eye coordination as well as joint and muscle strength in their arms.

With a range of colours, materials, sounds and textures a play mat will help keep your child entertained for many months, helping them to develop important skills through play and exploration. If you can occasionally move the toys around and rearrange them this will give your child new things to try out.

How To Cope When Potty Training Goes Wrong!

When I went to college there was a guy in my year who was still wearing nappies, and hadn’t yet graduated to using a toilet. Actually, that’s not true, but it does rather highlight the daft nature of one of the most common worries parents have – that their child will never, ever be potty trained!

It does seem as though you’ll be spending the entire rest of your life changing your child’s nappies, but you really don’t find too many college aged children still wearing Huggies SuperDry and bursting into tears the moment you suggest they try using their Extra Comfy Squeaky Yellow Potty With Real Flushing Sounds and Happy Duck Companion.

Potty training will come, and it’s important to let your child make the first move. That’s right – don’t force it, let them tell you when they’re ready. Having said which you won’t find your toddler lying back with their feet in the air calmly turning to look you in the eye between their knees saying, “You know what, I really feel as though we should try moving this on to the next stage, what say?”

So what are the signs that your child might be ready to start potty training, and what do you do when it doesn’t quite work out according to plan?

How To Tell When Your Child Is Ready To Start Potty Training

If you’re on your first baby then you may well wonder what on earth to look out for, and may worry that you’ll miss it. Don’t worry, you won’t, because as a parent you’ve been re-wired to be ultra sensitive to the slightest change in your child’s little routines.

You may find for instance that all of a sudden your child is showing an interest in the bathroom, or the toilet. Perhaps they are starting to tell you when they need the toilet, or are telling you that they’re going. They may start to tell you that they have been to the toilet and that they need changing. These may all seem fairly subtle, but you’ll notice them, and these are the signs that he or she may be ready to potty train.

BUT! Don’t think that you can throw out the nappy boxes just yet. Being ready to start experimenting with potty training is one thing, actually potty training is quite another, and it’s vitally important that you don’t rush them. They won’t end up at college still untrained, but it may slow them down a little and cause unnecessary anxiety, so just take it slowly, and take it at their pace.

 What To Do When The Potty Training Goes Wrong

Various things might well go wrong, and they probably will. You might find that your child becomes scared or anxious about using the potty, or they may have a few accidents (such as doing their business before reaching the potty, missing the potty, or getting up before they’re finished.)

The one Golden Rule to keep in mind through these inevitable hiccoughs is not to tell them off, or make them feel as though they have made a mistake, or done something wrong. Lavish praise on them when they get it right, and reassure them calmly should things not go to plan.

How To Help Your Child Avoid These Mishaps

There are a number of things you can do to help your child work through the process of getting used to using their potty, and most of them centre around making it fun, and to seem to be a clever, special thing that they are doing.

For example, you could have one of their favourite teddy bears sitting on the potty nearby to where they are playing, and tell them that the teddy doesn’t need a nappy because he/she/it can use the toilet like mummy or daddy. This is the sort of tactic which is likely to help foster a belief in the child that they want to be as grown up as their teddy!

You might also want to have a selection of books or toys that are ‘special potty’ books and toys, that can only be used by ‘anyone’ who uses the potty. Or you could be more subtle and simply bring out a sticker book or something whenever your child sits on the potty, quietly removing it ‘until next time’ after they are done.

Some parents have found that singing ‘potty songs’ helps, or handing out a couple of chocolate buttons when they get it right works too.

The important thing to emphasise here is that everything must be about praise and rewards – not about sanctions. So they should never be told off for not doing it right, or denied sweets on the basis that they aren’t grown up enough yet, not trying hard enough or not getting it right. Always focus on the positive, and never on the negative. It sounds easy, but it isn’t always, but this is the approach which will help your child get through those difficult moments better than anything else.

 What Happens If They Have A Relapse?

Although plenty of children progress smoothly from nappies to potty training, and then on to using a normal toilet with an adapted child seat, many children do have relapses. They might have been quite happy using the potty for a while, but then all of a sudden start not using it, or making a fuss about using it, wetting the bed or having other similar accidents.

Quite often these relapses can be triggered by a change in circumstances, perhaps when they start nursery, although it isn’t always that obvious. The important thing again here it to make sure that you let the child lead, don’t punish or penalise them, and make sure that there are plenty of rewards and much praise for when they do try using the potty or toilet properly again.

Never, ever tell a child off for wetting the bed or having a little accident as this can cause a great deal of anxiety and slow them down much further, increasing the likelihood of more accidents in future.

Today there is an enormous range of children’s potties, from comfortable ones for sitting in for longer to bright, colourful ones which appeal visually, and from potties which have interactive elements such as flushing handles and sound effects to training seats which fit to your standard toilet seat and allow your child to make the transition to using a proper full sized toilet.

You might even consider involving your child in the choosing of their potty. Browse potties online and let them see the different colours and styles, and act on any special interest they show in a particular potty. Make them feel that buying their potty is a treat, something special, and a sign that they are getting bigger and cleverer.

And ultimately, don’t worry. As I mentioned at the start, they won’t end up attending their first job interview still in nappies. It will pass, and you’ll end up looking back wondering why on earth you were ever worried!

How Not To Go Potty With Potty Training

Could there possibly be a more dangerous combination of a young child, plenty of drink, a relatively small target in the shape of a potty, and your brand-new carpet?

Potty training is one of those things which a great deal of parents worry about. The main concern which parents have is whether their child should already be starting to use a potty. This is the most important thing about potty training. It is not something which should be introduced or forced upon your child unless your child is already ready.

But that’s a little like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg, because how do you know whether your child is ready to use a potty unless you try getting them to use a potty?

The risk is that if you try getting your child to use a potty before they are ready then not only will they find this rather stressful and worrying, but there is almost certainly going to be a significantly higher chance of there being an accident. If there is an accident then this will only increase your child’s sense of anxiety, making the whole process more and more difficult, and somewhat self-defeating.

Believe it or not your child will tell you when they are ready to start potty training. Don’t get excited about the idea of having your child wander up to you one day and announce that they will be prepared to fit you in for a 20 minute slot that afternoon to go over the fundamental basics of lavatorial processes and hygiene.

But they will provide you with clues and signals which, if you are looking out for them, will give you a clear indication as to whether they are ready to try potty training. So what are the signals?

Two Hours Of Dryness

If your child remains dry for at least two hours at a time during the day then this may indicate that they are starting to settle into something of a routine, and this may offer you the opportunity to take advantage of that routine.

Potty Interest

It may be a little disconcerting, but when your child is ready to start potty training it is probable that they will start to become curious when members of the family go to the toilet. You may find your child wandering in while you, your partner or older brothers or sisters are going to the toilet, but don’t feel that this behaviour should be discouraged. Take it as a signal that they are probably ready to explore the idea of potty training.

Regular Bowel Movements

It is likely that as your child becomes ready to try potty training their bowel movements will become more regular and more predictable. You may find for example that they always do a little poo straight after breakfast. This sort of regularity and routine is a clear indication that your child’s is ready to take the next step.

Sound Effects

No, I’m not talking about bottom burps! Don’t take these as a signal or you’ll be trying to potty train your child from day one! But what you may find is that as your child is having a poo they make little noises, such as grunting. They may also starts to squat whilst they do their poo.

Nappy Notifications

You may find that your child’s starts to let you know when their nappy needs changing. This is a great sign, and indicates that they have become very much more aware of what their lower end is doing.

These five points should all be kept in mind, because they can provide a good indication as to whether your child is ready to start potty training or not. If you don’t feel that these signals are evident, then don’t force potty training upon them, or you could end up delaying the process.

It is often a good idea not to worry about potty training during periods which may be slightly stressful for your child. So for example if there is a new baby arriving, you’re moving house, your child is moving from a cot to bed, or there is some other significant change going on within the family then your child may find potty training is just one thing too much to cope with. Remember, there is no rush. Everyone is different, and it will happen eventually!

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