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No two parents have the same answer as to when to start potty training as it comes down to ‘when is the right time for your child?’ However, starting before age 2 (24 months) is not recommended as the readiness skills and physical development your child needs occur between the ages of 18 months and 2.5 years.

If your child shows two or more of these signs, then they are probably good to start potty training:

1. Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper/nappy

2. Showing interest in others using the potty or copying their behaviour

3. They have a dry diaper/nappy for an extended time (longer than usual)

4. Awakening dry from a nap

5. Advising you they are about to go, going, or just gone in their diaper/nappy

How do you help them in the process?

  • Purchase a special potty or toilet seat if your child is intimidated by the toilet.

  • If this is the case, please ensure the school has the same one to follow the same routine.

  • Ensure your child has enough changes of clothing at school, including dry socks and shoes.

  • Having fun with friends will make it harder to hear the call of nature even when motivated by teachers; therefore, accidents occur more frequently until they mature into this new experience.

  • Encourage practice runs to the toilet after a nap or a meal.

  • Always praise their efforts whether the attempt was successful or not.

  • Co-ordinate potty training with all other caregivers.

  • Toddlers need to be motivated to use the toilet every 1 to 2 hours until they become aware of their bowel habits.

  • When your child is urinating or having a bowel movement, tell them what they are doing to help them become aware of the different sensations.

  • Resist over reminding as this can make your child feel controlled. Instead, suggest that it is time for the toilet and not intervene if they refuse, even if an accident is imminent.

  • Be calm about accidents and do not punish them as it can lead to long term resistance. Never make a fuss of accidents!

  • Don’t hover over them as enforced potty sitting can sow seeds of rebellion. If after 5 minutes nothing has happened, don’t prolong the session.

  • Celebrate when they first get something into the potty and make a big deal out the first time they stay dry all day. 1. Don’t make a big deal of every potty trip, as the glare of the spotlight could make your toddler nervous and skittish. 2. Instead, casually mention how nice it is that they have dry undies during the day.

  • Children learn best by example.

  • Allow your little one to see you using the toilet as they enjoy mimicking you and their peers.

  • Let your toddler have the honour of flushing when they are finished.

  • All potty attempts should be noted in your potty book to ensure consistency from school to home.

To be Consistent as well as Patient is vital.

  • Every child in the process of potty training will be issued with a book and information sheets.

  • The book will be filled in with the following information routinely and daily: time of toilet round, successfully made wee or poo, no success, child’s reaction, accidents, any other relevant information.

  • Children will be motivated to use the toilet at least every 1.5 – 2 hourly the most. After bread and juice or lunch and sleep time, children must be encouraged to use the toilet.

  • Toilet seats need to be sprayed with Savlon solution after each child.

  • Children need to be wiped with a wet wipe to ensure clean bottoms.

  • Girls must be wiped from front to back to avoid infection.

  • Wet clothing must be placed in a plastic packet and tied in a bag so that it can be washed at home.

  • If a child sleeps with a nappy, ensure their bum is washed before underwear is put back on.

  • Failing to encourage children to use the toilet successfully will cause them to take longer to become aware of their bodily functions.

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