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Potty training dos and don’ts

Posted 7th May, 2018

Potty training can be a minefield – it can be confusing to know whether your little one is ready to switch from nappies to pants, and you may even feel pressure from other parents who’ve already potty trained their child who’s the same age as yours.

At all four of our ABC Nursery sites, we work together with families to help them make the transition in time for their child to start school so we’ve put together some dos and don’ts to help:

  • Do look out for the signs (but bear in mind not all children will display all signs before potty training). They include: telling you when they’re weeing or have wet their nappy, showing interest in the potty or toilet, a gap of at least an hour between wees, going somewhere quiet or hidden to wee, waking up dry from a nap.
  • Don’t spring it on them. Getting your child used to the idea of potty training rather than starting all of a sudden one day can result in fewer accidents. Ideas can include going out together to buy a potty and some new pants, getting their teddies to use the potty, letting them see you use the toilet and getting them used to sitting on the potty throughout the day.
  • Do find what works for you. Just because another family have done things one way, doesn’t mean that will work for your child. Some parents prefer to wait until the summer so they can let their child wear fewer clothes while they potty train, some may use a reward system, some may transition straight to pants and others may use pull ups.
  • Don’t rush the process, although some children are dry during the day aged two, the majority aren’t until they turn three and even then all children have the occasional accident when they get distracted or upset.
  • Do think about day and nighttime dryness separately – being dry at night relies on the release of a hormone which helps to slow down the amount of urine produced, helping them hold it in their bladder long enough to remain dry until the morning. It’s estimated around 20 per cent of children aged five sometimes wet the bed (according to the NHS) so there really is no rush to get them out of nappies or pull-ups overnight unless they’re showing signs they’re ready like waking up with a dry nappy.
  • Don’t forget to tell us when you start potty training, so we can help encourage your little one and continue the progress you’ve made at home. It’s also a good idea to put lots of spare changes in their nursery bag so that we can be prepared for any accidents which might happen in the early days.

If you’ve got any questions, there are lots of valuable resources out there to help – from books to explain potty training to your child to parenting forums full of advice from people who’ve been through it already. Your health visitor can be a valuable source of information and of course the ABC staff are always willing to speak to parents or carers about how to encourage their child – after all, we will be part of their potty training too during the hours they’re with us.

At the time, it can seem like a daunting or long-winded process but eventually the overwhelming majority of children will ditch the nappies for good – so don’t be disheartened and do remember to listen and look for the signs your child is giving you about whether they’re ready or not.