Child Potty Training: Slow progress

Many parents believe potty training to be one of the hardest things they’ve done with their child, but it really needn’t be that way.  With the right attitude towards it and the right equipment and support you can do this easily.

You’ll notice that I didn’t write “quickly and easily”.  This is because the worst thing you could possibly do to your child is to rush them when it comes to potty training.  Rushing your child will make them dislike the potty and the toilet and may set you back a long way.  You need to remember that the potty and the toilet are alien objects to them and they’ve never used them before; they are quite content to keep having you change their nappy and wipe their bottom for them.

Gentle coaxing

However, you do need to make efforts to get your child out of nappies.  It can be very inconvenient when young children begin play school etc and they still have their nappies on.  It does wonders for a child’s self confidence and development to have them break the schema and move onto the next level.

What can you do?

There are several potty training stages to go through, and it’s often best that you do it this way.  This is not however designed to be a prescriptive list of what you should do or buy in any way; we cannot emphasise enough that every child is very different indeed and not everything works the same way.  There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to something like potty training in much the same way as it does for your child to break any schema, like bottle to cup for example.

  • Buy a potty.  This is the first step and it’s often best if you involve your child in the process  so they know that they are getting a special present and it makes them feel important.  Where possible allow them to choose.
  • Explain what the potty is for.  Your child need to understand what happens on the potty when you get it home and how it’s a very good thing to do their “wees” and “poos” on there (or whatever else you want to call them; everyone is different)
  • Leave them alone.  Place the potty in a room where baby spend a lot of time and leave it there as a piece of the furniture so that your child can become totally accustomed to having it there.  It’s important for it not to become an alien object.
  • Let baby decorate the potty.  Getting stickers for the baby potty is an excellent way of familiarising your child with their new possession.  Letting them put stickers on it will in essence make the child claim it as their own.
  • Use literature.  There is a plethora of children’s literature out there online, in the stores or the libraries that can help you with potty training, and we would strongly advise you to use them.  Sitting down with your child to read a story about a baby learning to use the potty is a very positive way to build them up to actually sitting on it.
  • Try getting them on the potty.  You will notice that the first five steps haven’t even mentioned baby sitting on the potty, and this is important.  This shows your child that you’re not pressuring them.  They may have already worked out what they have to do from the books you’ve been reading and might even be sitting on it already by themselves; this is good.  Try to encourage them by allowing them to sit on the potty without taking off their clothes or nappy.
  • Once your baby is familiar with the potty then you need to put them on it.  This should be done at nappy change time to see if they need to go.  You can sit by them and read books or perhaps watch some television.  They may not do anything, but if they do ensure you give them lots of praise.

When baby use the potty

When they do it make an enormous fuss; that’s the only rule here really.  Once they know it’s a good thing to go on the potty they’ll want to do it even more.  Most kids want their parents attention and they love it when you are happy with them.


This is only the beginning of the task.  Getting baby on the potty is the most important part.  Once they get on it it’s only a matter of time before they do something.  Try timing them about 20 mins after they’ve had a drink if you’re not getting any luck to begin with; this is often an optimum time for them.

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