Advice Column, Parenting, Toddler

Potty Training Essentials

  • Mother Nature Products
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting, Toddler

Is our big boy or girl ready? This challenging question is raised by parents around the world and what parent doesn’t want to get their child out of nappies! On average children start potty training between the ages of 2 to 3 years. Once you have gone through our signs of readiness there really is only one way to find out – give it your best go.

Signs your toddler is ready:

Starting potty training earlier doesn’t necessarily mean finishing early; so be patient. In their first year babies don’t have bladder muscle and nerve control. This is something that develops at differing ages from child to child. Here is a checklist of signs they are ready:

  • Shows general interest and independent thought
  • Is co -ordinated (running, walking, balance)
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Developing a regular toileting routine
  • Has dry periods of 2 hour intervals
  • Can pull pants up and down
  • Dislikes the sensation of being wet or soiled
  • Grunting or squatting during bowel movement
  • Shows an interest in the toilet
  • Dancing or hopping about when bladder is full or during bowel movement

Preparation for Potty Training:

Equipment: sturdy potty or an inner seat to fit over your toilet, block to stand on to reach the toilet, bright and fun cloth potty training pants (such as Mother Nature Potty training pants) which have an absorbent saddle, bed mattress protector (such as Mother Nature’s breathable version), rewards chart .

Introduce them to the toilet or potty. Let them learn by imitation by watching you spend a penny. Give them a plausible explanation as to why they must use the toilet and explain the reward system if using this system. Don’t be too pushy or angry as this will only aggravate their fear or stubbornness. Inform the playschool or carers that potty training has begun. Start off with day training by sitting them on the toilet for a few minutes at a time and then progress to night time.

Tried and tested tips by our really wise parents:

We asked our panel of parents what worked for them and this is what they came up with:

  • Remember the three P’s: patience, positivity, praise
  • Call your child the “king or queen” of their “throne”
  • Familiarity is king: introducing them early to the toilet, regular hourly visits to the bathroom, learning from their parents
  • Let your child lead you: they will let you know when they are ready
  • Sing songs, read stories and make “ssswwiss” sounds while they are seated
  • Reward ideas: small chocolates, biscuits, favourite food, play outside, stickers, allowed to flush, get to wash hand afterwards, get to draw on the toilet with a washable koki, dye the toilet water with food colouring
  • Clap hands and cheer when they get it right
  • Create a happy toilet story: An example is that the “yuk-yuk” goes to the sea to feed the fish when it is flushed and then say good bye
  • Use cloth nappies as opposed to disposables and get your child trained earlier
  • Make it seem like a fun and exciting game
  • Easy clothing: dress girls in dresses for easy action or remove bottom clothing in the beginning phases
  • Boy tip: put 5 Cherios in the bottom of the potty and get them to aim ‘n shoot
  • Remove smelly odours caused by accidents by covering the spot with salt then vacuuming it up ½ hour later
  • Remember it’s not mission impossible so hang in there folks!

Messy Potty Tip: Use Mother Nature’s biodegradable & flushable liners to line the bottom of the potty. After use, flush them down the toilet! No need to deal with a messy, dirty potty!

Night Time Advice:

  • Lay-off liquids at least 1 hour before bedtime
  • Take them to the toilet before their bedtime as well as your bedtime. Perhaps set alarm for midnight to take them again. And ensure they go to the toilet as soon as they wake up

When Things Go Wrong:

Potty training is not always a smooth sailing process as some children can be extremely resistant to the potty training process. Children who are refusing to potty train may be experiencing confusion about what’s expected of them, as well as emotional fears, painful physical sensations, or just general rebellion. Causes may include:

  • Wilfulness to control the situation by refusing to co-operate
  • Fear of the toilet or negative potty training experience
  • Medical reasons – speak to a paediatrician
  • Psychological reasons: life crisis, negative comments or teasing by family members which in turn leads to lack of confidence & shame
  • Problems more common in boys
  • Immaturity of the nervous system in recognising the sensation of being wet during sleep or the sensation of a full bladder
  • Other medical causes of enuresis are: sleep apnoea (snoring), pinworm infection, diabetes, family history. May need to be referred to a urologist for evaluation

We hope these tips are useful in successfully navigating your child out of nappies; on their path towards an independent and happy, wholesome life!

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