It's one of those parenting tasks that none of us look forward to.
Remember those teeny tiny newborn nappies? You looked at them during pregnancy refusing to believe that a baby could really be that small. Fast forward two years and people begin to ask you questions about when you will potty train your toddler? Sorry, what now? It's safe to say that time just needs to slow right down.
So when is the perfect time to potty train your toddler? I've asked this question to a number of people recently. Seasoned parents, grandparents, public health nurses and good old Mr Google. I received a lot of different answers. It seems that this question is a bit like the “how long is a piece of string?” question. There is no definitive answer.
The official stance is that children are not physically or emotionally ready to be toilet trained until they are at least eighteen months old. Most parents begin the process somewhere between the age of two and three years old. Girls tend to be ready for potty training a couple of months before boys are.
So now what? Do you wake up one day and decide today is the day to begin the process? It would seem that this is not necessarily the case. Many children will show signs of being ready to begin potty training. A sudden interest in the toilet, telling you every time they have gone to the toilet, and a sudden aversion to feeling wet. Some parents claim that their children get very upset when they have gone to the toilet in their nappy. They immediately demand that it is removed and do not enjoy the sensation. This can be a big sign that the process is not so far away.
Every child is different but the general consensus seems to be that most children respond very well to the process when a) they are truly ready and b) the process is a very positive one. Lots of praise and not making a big deal of accidents is key. Some parents buy sticker books or treats as a reward for every time the potty is used. It can be a really fun experience for the child.
Having said that – the biggest recommendation was to hibernate somewhat when you attempt to potty train your child. Stop up on cleaning supplies, pick a week where you have no plans to leave the house for anything major and expect lots of accidents and set-backs.
When it comes to potty training at night many parents claim that it is the second step in the process. A lot of children are fully potty trained during the day for several months before the idea of night time training is introduced. It is a more complex part.
When did you potty train your child? Any tips and tricks? We would love to hear!
Written by Tracey Quinn, mummy blogger and staff writer at www.familyfriendlyhq.ie.
Check out her own blog at www.loveofliving.blogspot.ie