Stress-Free Potty Training
“Potty training” means to help your child to learn to use the potty or the toilet and to become independent in their toilet habits. If you listened to my first podcast episode on Parenting Through The Generations you’ll know that the way we parent has changed so significantly even in the past 30 years. With approaches to potty training things have changed a lot and so I want to explore these changes and some tips to help you take the stress out of potty training and to help you be aware of when you child is ready to be potty trained.
In the early 1900s, babies were in cloth nappies and there was a need to get babies out of nappies much earlier because of laundering them and the practicalities of life at that time. Mothers were desperate to move their babies out of nappies as soon as possible. In the 1950s, almost 100% of babies were in cloth nappies and potty training often started by 18 months. Nowadays, around 90% of babies wear disposable nappies and only 10% are potty trained by 18 months. This shows you the huge shift in such a short time and when your well-meaning Aunt or neighbour says “ooh he’s 18 months! Isn’t he out of nappies now?!” Child development has come on so much and we now know that waiting for when your child is ready is the best key to successfully potty training your child.
Signs your child is ready to be potty trained
I am often asked why things aren’t working for a child who is being potty trained and parents and children are stressed around nappies, pants and potties. Parents can be frustrated and things feel like they’re falling apart. In my experience this is down to the fact that the child wasn’t ready to be potty trained.
It is so important to look at the signs that show you when your child is ready: if they’re not, it won’t help them to learn.
These are the signs to look for that show you they might be ready:
- your toddler will start to have dry nappies for a couple of times throughout the daytime
- they’ll start to have more of an interest in you going to the toilet
- they might start asking questions or noticing what’s happening when you use the bathroom
- asking for their nappies to be changed
- not wanting to wear a soggy or dirty nappy anymore
- early morning waking might start to happen when their nappy is full
- they might start pulling their nappy off in the daytime
- they might get really frustrated that you want to put a clean nappy on them
- if your child has the ability to pull up and down their nappy (this makes it easier for them if they can do it on their own)
- can they follow quite simple instructions?
Your child doesn’t have to show every single one of these signs because they are all different but, overall, you are looking at really focusing on watching their toileting behaviours to work out if they are ready or not. I would recommend you consider their age, too. Around 2 is very average, I would say. Some children even decide one day that they want to wear pants! It does happen! The important thing to remember that every child is different and you must pay attention to your individual child, even siblings will vary of course.
If you don’t see any progress after a week of trying then it is absolutely fine to put them back into nappies, start looing for the signs again and wait until you are both ready. This is far more likely to bring success.
If you would like more support around potty training, please click below to access my online course which goes into much more detail and is packed full of tips.