Potty training. One of the great conundrums of parenting. When is the right time? When is too soon? How do you know when your child is ready?
Catherine, a 35-year-old first-time mum from Bristol, has the potty training fear.
“I think my two-year-old daughter is finally ready to start potty training. But before I go for it, can you give me some tips to make it all as easy as possible (on both of us!)”
Over to the parents…
Yocana Salete Okonwo – MummyYoYo
As a full-time mum to son Zayne and daughter Cataleya, Yocana’s mission is to be transparent about family life. By sharing her stories and experiences, she hopes to comfort mothers who might be struggling and inspire them to keep following their dreams. You can find her at Mummy YoYo, on Instagram as @mummyyoyo, on Facebook and on Pinterest.
Yocana believes the key is knowing that’s she’s ready to try the potty.
“Watch out for signs like her not wanting to stay with a wet diaper; hiding to pee or poop
“Get pull-up pants and also normal cotton pants. Show her and explain those are big girl pants – I’m sure she will be very excited to wear them. I know my daughter was! I would say it is also a good idea to start potty training when the weather is warmer as they can wear less clothing – this will make things easier for her and for yourself as well.
Yocana thinks you should also give your daughter time to become familiar with the potty.
“One thing that worked for me, was putting the potty in our living room in the first few days just so they get used to sitting on it. When I saw that she was comfortable peeing on it, I then moved it to the corridor and then to the bathroom.
“You can also get a chart and every time she pees or poops you can give her a star. So she gets motivated to do her business in the potty. Be very very patient in the process – getting frustrated won’t help anything. If she starts to resist, stop and wait for a few days, then start over again.
“Don’t feel pressured to potty train because of what others think. Potty training isn’t easy but you got this!”
Danielle – My Life with Littles
A wife and mother to two children, Isabella and Henley, Danielle is chronicling her journey on Instagram. She’s passionate about raising awareness of mental health as well as covering all things mum and baby related. You can find her at @danielle_andlittles.
Danielle thinks you need to be relaxed about it. The less pressure, the better.
“If you are relaxed about it, your daughter will be too. I would suggest putting her big girl knickers on and no trousers, give her plenty of water and leave a potty in the room ready for when she needs to go. Ask her at regular intervals and pop her on the potty every 15-30 minutes just to try.
“I would also act overly excited after she goes on the potty so she knows it was a big deal – really reward her every time she does a wee. Potty training can be a frustrating time but don’t give up – persistence is the key and before you know it you’ll be saying goodbye to her nappies for good.”
Jessica Baxter – Real Home Truths
Jessica is an experienced writer and editor living in Cape Town, South Africa, where her two toddlers provide all the inspiration she needs for her blog. She enjoys sharing her no-filter views and experiences of motherhood – both the mess and the magic. You can read more at Real Home Truths or find her on Instagram as @realhometruths.
Don’t expect it to be easy, warns Jessica – after all, it’s one childhood’s biggest steps.
“It’s a big step for a little one and there will be a few hiccups. I don’t know if there is any right way but how I did it was to take my kids to the toilet after meal times and first thing in the morning or before bed, which is when they are most likely to need the loo, and just have them sit there. Sometimes they would go, sometimes not. But it got them in the habit of going to to the toilet at set times.”
You should also reward your child. But don’t scold them if they get it wrong.
“I also looked for cues from them – if they looked like they were needing a wee, I would take them to the toilet. Offer some kind of reward for when they get it right, whether it’s a sticker on a chart or a little sweet and remember not to punish or scold them when they have an accident – it will just make them afraid and they will not want to continue trying.”
Katie & Christina – The Baileys
Katie and Christina are a girl-meets-girl love story. After falling in love and getting married, they have two daughters through reciprocal IVF. They love to travel and want their girls to see as much of the world as possible. You can follow their adventures on Instagram at @babybaileymamadrama and YouTube.
Katie and Christina are right in the midst of potty training themselves. Here is their advice from the frontline!
“We are in no way experts, as we are still potty training. We’ve got the #1 down but not as much #2. We told her once she went pee on the potty, she could buy special underwear. Of course, when this finally happened, it was
“We wanted to keep our word, and she was so excited, so we followed through and took her to the store. She loves the pants so much that she doesn’t want to ruin them, so that helps a lot. For the first few days, we put her on the potty every 20 minutes. It was exhausting but she got the hang of it.”
Amber DeAnn Rojas
Amber DeAnn Rojas was born and raised in Texas, US, and married her husband Fernando, who is from Honduras, 12 years ago. She describes herself as ‘a Jesus-lovin’, holistic, natural-minded, oil-rubbin’, wine-drinking mama of five’ and says although her family is loud and busy, she wouldn’t change it for the world. You can find her on Instagram as @justwhenyouthinkshesdown.
Amber recommends summer as a great time to potty train – which is handy given summer is almost upon
“Summertime means fewer clothes and less to clean up when there is an accident. I know that when I have decided to potty train my kids, we both had to be on the same page. Potty training means a lot of staying home and close to the restroom that they are used to and comfortable using.
Amber says that calm periods at home are the best environment for potty training.
“It’s really hard to potty train if you are on the go a lot, especially for girls. There were times where my kids were ready and I wasn’t mentally ready to potty train them because I wasn’t committed to staying home, which led to lots of accidents and unsuccessful potty training sessions.”
And rewards are good, says Amber.
“Have a good reward system in place whether it be a sticker chart or candy or just a big celebration anytime they use the potty.”
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