When is the best time to potty train your child? The best sign is one from your child that indicates that they want to begin the process of potty training. The easiest way to notice is when they say ‘I want to do it myself’ and meet it with encouragement and support. This usually is about the age of two –but varys widely.

Potty Training Pointers

  1. There is no best method of potty training except having a parent who is relaxed, not withdrawing love when the child makes a mistake. Our childs greatest need is our love and the withdrawal of that- or crossness, impatience etc makes the child feel less secure and may mean they go into avoidance to prevent a reoccurance of the parents getting mad.
  2. If there is a fear of the toilet; it is usual that the toilet has an association of something negative, did the parent rush them or get irritable with them. Learning to hold or release is all about feeling relaxed; therefore respond with love, patience and a bit of fun. Maybe a distraction like a potty for your childs favourite doll or teddy for the bathroom. Favorite books or maybe even a star chart can help.
  3. The Creche say to start:Pay no attention to the crèche, you are the mother and go with your gut. Better start a little too late than too early. It obviously suits the crèche to have children trained but readiness for toilet training needs come from the child rather than to convenience the crèche!
  4. What if they have a few accidents? Certainly, presenting them with a nappy may be a bit demoralising for them, if not perhaps pull ups would take the pressure off. The most important thing however is to respond to accidents with calmness not crossness. Mistakes are how we learn and we make mistakes and need make it safe for our child to make a mistake; knowing that that’s how they learn.
  5. Readiness on the child’s part is crucial; they are interested and this increases the possibility of the training going well. Lots of patience showing them how to sit on the potty, remembering the importance of buying the new underwear.
  6. Encourage your child to sit on the potty at key times maybe with a book or toy. A star chart is a great reminder to parents to keep up the positive encouragement, support that your child needs. Accidents will happen but remember not to get cross. A key point is that if there are more accidents than successes; perhaps you have begun the process a little early and it may be necessary to leave it for a while.
  7. Above all, be calm and patient, remembering the more positivity you give your child; the greater the chance of a successful potty training!

Sheila O’Malley established Practical Parenting to offer support and training to Parents. She facilitates courses and seminars, delivers talks around family wellbeing. Sheila is a well regarded contributor to radio and TV. In addition, she is a former parenting correspondent for Independent Newspapers. She is renowned for her practical, empathetic, professional and balanced approach. Sheila was trained by Dr Tony Humphreys and is a qualified Parent Mentor. Practical Parenting offer the following services:

  • One to One Parent Mentoring available
  • Parenting Talks to Schools/Organisations/Companies
  • Keynote Conference Speaker
  • Courses/Workshops run throughout the year.