Ditching the diapers to potty train is a huge milestone in a child's life. And one that takes a lot of patience from you.
Exactly when they'll be ready, and how long it will take, varies significantly.
Some toddlers will start very young and get the hang of it quite quickly, while others will start later and could take up to a year.
Top potty-training tips
Unfortunately there's no rule book to follow to potty train your child. Every toddler is different and girls and boys also learn differently.
But here are 13 tips to get you started on your potty training journey.
- Make sure your child is ready: You can't rush or force potty training. Look out for key behavioural, physical and cognitive signs that your child is ready to take the leap
- Let your child help choose a potty: This is important as they'll feel more invested in the process
- Buy some big kid underwear: Underwear of their favourite cartoon character for example will help encourage them to succeed so they can wear their new pants
- Put the potty somewhere convenient: The obvious place would be in the bathroom but it may be better to put it in the child's playroom in the beginning for example, as they might be more likely to remember to use it
- Plan a schedule: Try to encourage your child to use the potty after eating and before and after naps at a minimum
- Make a sticker chart: Using stickers will incentivise the child to use their potty
- Shower your child with praise: When your little one uses the toilet, make sure you layer on the praise
- Have naked time: Some parents say that stripping their child for a few hours a day at home helps with potty training since they have no nappy to pee or poop in
- Bedtime and wake-up time potty visits: It's a good idea to get your toddler into the habit of going to the potty last thing at night, first thing in the morning and during the night if they wake up
- Teach by example: We all know our children imitate what we do so why not take them to the toilet when you need to go?
- Give boys a little more time: Boys sometimes need extra time to figure out the difference between doing a number one and a number two so be patient and give them lots of encouragement
- Don't punish mistakes: This is a complete no-no. Yes it can be frustrating but you need to be patient, gentle and encouraging or you risk doing more damage than good
- Show and tell: It can be a good idea to use your child's favourite toys and teddies and pretend they're potty training too. This creates a sense of solidarity and encourages your little one to keep going.