• Sue

Potty Training Tips

Tackling toilet training can be a tough milestone to crack. Working with the NHS for 14 years supporting families with their children’s milestones, I have come across many challenges and toilet training is one of those milestones that causes stress and worry to parents. I just wanted to share some common worries and questions I am asked frequently about potty training. What is your best potty-training tip? Let them choose their own knickers/pants because if they love their underwear, you will get them on board and you will be halfway there. Always buy underwear one size bigger as your little one will find them easier to push down and pull up.

What age shall I start potty training? There is no set age for potty training as each child is unique and will show signs of readiness at different stages of their development. It’s not "one size fits all" when it comes to potty training. Always factor in your child's own personality. Back in 1940, children were potty trained earlier; the average age then was about 18 months. Nowadays it is later, and this is partly due to disposable nappies. They are so absorbent that your child does not feel the wetness. The first stage of potty training is feeling the wetness. In the days of Terry towelling nappies, children knew as soon as they passed a wee as it didn’t soak straight in.

Why won’t my child wee or poo on the potty? As soon as she stands up she wees or poos. This can be very frustrating for parents. This could be due to positioning. A child needs to feel secure and safe when sitting on a toilet or potty for success. I suggest starting with a potty as it puts your child in a squatting position which is ideal. Boys also empty their bladders fully when sitting down. So, teach them to stand at a later date. If you use a toilet, make sure you buy a well fitted trainer seat and a foot stool, so little one is in the correct position to wee or poo. One tip to help them get success on the potty is to bombard their senses while sitting on the potty: sensory pouches or a sensory bottle to shake. Make your own as they can be very simple and a lot cheaper.

Or get them to blow a small trumpet. Now, how does blowing a trumpet and potty training go together? I hear you say. It’s the blowing out action that pulls the belly button towards the core, which puts pressure on the bladder to make wee come out and relaxes the muscles for pooing. It doesn’t have to be a trumpet; you can use bubbles or get your child to put 10 fingers up in front of them and get them to slowly blow. 

My child is showing signs of readiness, but I am too scared to start. Try and think of a nappy as a "portable toilet". If your little one is show

ing signs of readiness and you have laid down some groundwork, you need to go for it, be brave and ditch the nappy. Don’t wait or you may miss the opportunity and they may show more resistance the older they are. Some children become very attached to their nappies. But also, it is as much about parent’s readiness as well. So top tips for parent’s readiness are: Be prepared for some accidents = learning Make some time = less stress Have a positive attitude = enjoyment for child Be Patient =a relaxed child is more likely to wee and poo. No major events coming up = more likely to succeed. A parent feeling confident is key when starting this journey as our little ones pick up our body language and take their cues from us.

Therefore, I am very pleased when I receive a review stating the parents feels more confident: "Sue’s potty-training workshop was brilliant. I found it very helpful because her advice was practical, straightforward and easy to digest. Sue clearly has an impressive track record and an outstanding wealth of experience. I left the workshop feeling far more confident about this important next step for my son." Do I continue with potty training if my little one is having accidents? You are looking for progress in your child recognising the urges to wee or poo, and progress in your child’s understanding of their own body so that they are having fewer accidents. They need to have accidents as this will help them learn. Returning to nappies isn’t always the best solution. A change of approach may be needed rather than assuming your child is not ready. Any parents' aim is to have a truly potty-trained child who can use the bathroom independently and can handle all the skills by themselves: ​ 

  • Know the signal before they have a wee or poo.

  •  Push down own underwear.

  •  Sit on toilet/potty (wipe own bottom-this one is tricky).

  •  Pull up own clothes.

  •  Flush chain.

  •  Wash hands.

These can all be practised before you even remove your child’s nappy. There are lots of skills to master to achieve independent toileting and promote good bowel and bladder health for life.

What if I need more support and advice? If you want support with potty training including any troubleshooting issues or behavioural challenges, then pop me an email or message,

or book a session via zoom ,one to one or a "friends session".

These session are fun, relaxed, and very informative - meet Mr Poo and Miss Wee!

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