Baby nappies are hard work for parents. They can’t wait for their child to be potty trained. But be careful, they need to take their child’s pace into account, and not rush potty training. Each child has its own age of physiological and psychological maturity. Generally speaking, a child is ready for the potty training stage between the ages of 2 and 4. Here’s some advice on how to make this important transition a success.
What does the potty stage mean for a child?
Potty training means children are ready to control their bladder and bowels. Around the age of 2, children understand the sensation that their organs are “full”. They detect when they need to have a bowel movement or urinate, and head for the potty before it’s too late. The role of parents is to support and guide them as they learn to use their “intuition”. With patience and good humour, your child will certainly become potty trained and will no longer need nappies…
Tips for a successful potty transition
RESPECT YOUR CHILD’S RHYTHM
There’s no point in forcing your child to go potty. Children are ready for this transition between the ages of 2 and 4. Rushing things will only slow down your child’s natural development. They need to feel valued and confident. So respect his pace! At first, they will be potty trained during the day, and a few months later, at night. Potty training takes an average of 6 months.
SIGNS THAT HE’S READY
– He goes to his potty by himself and sits on it,
– His nappies are clean for several hours,
– He understands simple instructions such as “go to daddy”,
– He begins to express his needs in clear words,
– He’s curious when you go to the toilet.
THE RIGHT TIME TO START LEARNING
The best time to start potty training is during the summer, as your baby often urinates spontaneously at this time of year. So take the opportunity to take off the nappies for a few hours, and put the potty near him so that he wants to go.
Don’t start potty training during a stressful period such as moving house, or the arrival of a little brother.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DO IT?
Offer your child the potty after a meal and explain what it’s for. Preferably put the potty in the room where your child is used to changing nappies. If your child is curious when you go to the toilet, he’ll want to do the same with his potty. Explain that they can “wee” or “poo”. Give them time to adjust to this new experience with their body.
Then, little by little, establish a routine for your child: get him to sit on the potty at times that are good for elimination: when he wakes up, after meals, before bedtime, etc. When your child manages to relieve himself in the potty, don’t forget to congratulate him. If, on the other hand, he hasn’t done anything after 10 minutes, don’t insist. Put the potty away and offer it again later.
DRESS YOUR CHILD APPROPRIATELY
You can help your child by putting on clothes that are easy to take off at potty time. For example, wear shorts rather than tight trousers.
A GENTLE TRANSITION TO KNICKERS
Once your child has got into the potty habit, start by getting them to wear training pants, which are worn like underwear but are absorbent pads like babies’ nappies. This is a way of dealing with the “wee-wee accidents” that can still happen.
Then move on to a real pair of cloth pants, which will give your child more incentive to stay dry. Remind him to go potty regularly and, above all, don’t scold him if he soils a few pants. It’s all part of the learning process. If they tell you when an “accident” happens, praise them.
IT’S TIME TO STOP USING NAPPIES AT NIGHT
If your child is clean all day and his nappies are dry at naptime, it’s time to do away with them at night too. Remind them that they can call you if they want to go potty at night. To help your child get over this hurdle, put the potty by the bed and a nightlight by it. Dress them in comfortable pyjamas that are easy to pull down.
HOW DO I WIPE?
Children can’t wipe themselves properly until they’re around 4 years old. Before then, they’ll need your help. Girls in particular should wipe from front to back, so as not to bring germs forward and cause urinary tract infections. Don’t forget to teach your child that they should always wash their hands after using the toilet.