|Before I start potty training my little boy (he is just under two years old), is there an awareness I can create to make the whole process easier?
1. Compliment all 'big-boy'' behaviour. Washing hands,
drinking from a cup, putting away toys, being generous and
kind to a friend or sibling. And now, especially pulling
his pants up and down. And then gradually introduce the
idea that using the potty is fun and also 'big-boy' behaviour.
2. Talk it up. "Won't it be fun when you can also wear
big-boy pants, instead of nappies" "Soon you will
be able to go to the toilet too, just like daddy”.
But please don’t denigrate the beloved nappy, you
might start a potty mutiny. And importantly, don’t
refer to nappy contents as smelly, stinky, yucky. Going
to the toilet is natural and wonderful, and very, very clever.
3. Decide on your potty terminology. Poo, poop, pee or
whatever you decide to call it, be consistent, and tell
grandparents and carers to use the same word.
4. Potty training bedtime stories. There are excellent
picture books for toddlers with titles such as "The
Prince and the Potty" [or indeed, the “Princess
and the Potty”!] about children learning to potty
train and what fun it is to use a potty. There is also a
Once Upon a Potty DVD with a delightful song which parents
report is a great incentive. But remember to let the pictures
do the talking. Don’t moralise after you have read
the story. No pressure!
5. Explain what the potty is for: Wrap it up as a present.
Explain what the potty is for: 'When you're ready, you poop
and pee into the potty instead of in your nappy. We'll keep
it here in the bathroom until you're ready to use it".
6. Show how it is done. Use the potty yourself to show
how it is done. Or if you have a visitor that is already
using the potty, encourage your toddler to watch and see
what a potty is used for. And do provide some teaching for
your boy toddler on the delicate issue of how to control
the direction. Show him how to press his penis down so that
the urine will flow downwards into the potty. Make it fun
to get right… do some fun practice with targets in
the potty; shaving foam or balls of coloured paper. Of course,
if you have an older child who is already using the potty,
potty training by imitation is the fastest training of all.
7. Personalise a potty. Go potty shopping with your toddler.
Let him pick one out. Make sure it is robust and won't tip
over when he gets up to have a look. Write his name on it,
or ask him to decorate it with magic markers or stickers.
8. “This is my potty.” Let your toddler carry
the potty around with him and encourage him to use it as
a stool e.g. whilst reading a potty book or watching television.
If he feels comfortable with the potty, and at ease on the
potty, it will be easier to encourage usage when he is ready
for potty training.
9. Or pick a potty seat. If your toddler seems to prefer
using the grown-up toilet, choose a potty seat that is a
good fit on top of your toilet. [A shaky potty seat can
unnerve a toddler]. Choose one with a footrest against which
he can brace when making a poop. And also ensure you have
a well-balanced step, so that he can get up to the potty
10. Flush away. Start making nappy changes in the bathroom,
and then let him flush away the contents.
11. Teach your toddler to know when it's time. As soon
as you see your toddler straining to make a poop, focus
his attention. "Oh that's good. When you do that, it
means a poop is on the way. Soon you'll be able to poop
in the potty". Then nonchalantly change the nappy.