When to Start Potty Training
Some people don’t train their little ones to go on the potty until they are three. But even though it seems like a hassle at the time, children can be taught this skill much earlier. A little child who can learn to feed himself, walk and talk can certainly learn to go on the potty when necessary. And just think of all the money you will save in buying nappies or pull-ups.
That doesn’t mean to say that the child may not have accidents occasionally or at night, but throughout the day they will mostly be able to go to the potty or sit on the toilet on their own before age three. So when should you start? More depends on the parent than the child, but as a general rule if the child is able to walk it is easier. When a child can go for at least two hours without wetting his nappy that is a good time to start training.
Having him sit in his new potty chair before actually using it will make him familiar with it. Often you can tell when a child is about to have a bowel movement, either by his expression or by what he says. If there is time you can then lead him to the potty chair. Some parents allow their children to run around with no nappies on for a few days so they can actually associate the end result with the feeling of needing to go.
It will help if you can place the potty chair close to where the child usually plays to start with. If a child has to hold on and rush to the bathroom every time he feels the urge to go, it will very often pass before he gets there and he will be unable to go. Other times it may be too late. Once he gets used to using the potty chair and it is not stressful for him to do so, it can be moved into the bathroom.
Allowing your child to see other family members go to the toilet will also train him that this is what happens. This should happen well before the training starts in earnest. Appropriate explanations need not be embarrassing. Children take it all as something quite natural, which it is, of course. Allow him to flush the toilet for you so he will not be frightened when it is his turn. When a child sees what his parents do in the bathroom he will nearly always want to copy – this is how children learn most of their skills, by copying parents or siblings.
Always praise a child for any attempts to use the potty, even if they were not successful. You should not scold for accidents or for refusing to use the potty – nor should potty training start at stressful time such as moving house or bringing home a new baby. Some parents empty the contents of the nappy into the potty to help show their child what they want to happen.