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Potty and Toilet Training

How do I start potty training?

From weaning to walking, routine and consistency makes learning new skills much easier!

  • Note any regular times your child has a poo. Try leaving their nappy off around that time and see if they want to use the potty. It’s OK to put the nappy back on if they don’t like the idea!
  • Encourage your child to sit on the potty after they’ve had a meal, or just before bed, as they’re likely to need to go around that time.
  • Encourage your child to use the potty if they show or tell you that they need a wee. Using a potty just for wees is a good start until they build up the confidence for number twos.
  • Alternatively, have ‘potty time’ every couple of hours so they get used to the idea of regularly needing a poo or wee.
  • Your child usually won’t need more than a couple of minutes on the potty, so keep it short. Leave a few toys close by so they can occupy themselves.
  • Keep clothing simple so they can pull things up, down and off easily.
  • It can be helpful for boys to start off sitting down – leave standing up for a later achievement!
  • Keep potties around the house. If you have more than one bathroom, have a potty in each one. If you go out, take a potty with you.
  • Don’t feel you have to switch straight to a potty. Keep using nappies when you go out, at night, or whenever is comforting or convenient.
  • Children love getting praise: give loads of it every time they succeed.

Remember that accidents are inevitable – just stay calm and clean up when you need to. Let your child know it’s OK to make mistakes and that they’ll get the hang of it.

Punishing your child is counter-productive: they’ll get worried or frightened about using the potty, and that could slow the whole process down. We all make mistakes from time to time – and that’s OK.

Want more advice or support?

You can talk via online chat to our family support workers and get advice specific to your situation and your family.

Visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/talk

Description of what parents can talk about in the 1:1 online chat service

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