Every year my wonderful BritMums sponsors Diane and Judith from Dry Like Me run a potty training event called Potty Training Live for 6 weeks over the summer helping mums through the daunting task of potty training. This year I'm working along side them and writing a blog post every week to coincide with the event and this week as it's the first week it's all about preparation.
Make sure they're really ready
One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is trying to potty train their children before they're actually ready, of course every child is different so there is no set age that they should be ready to potty train but there are some signs to look out for in your child to let you now that it's time to ditch those nappies. Is your child over the age of 18 months? Can they sit still for 2-5 mins? Is their nappy regularly dry after a nap? Can they pull trousers/pants up and down? Can they follow simple instructions like "go and fetch me a ball"? If the answer to most or all of those questions is yes then they may be ready to start.
One thing that never occurred to me before potty training was that Riley may not actually know what poo was, because he always did it in a nappy and I quickly disposed of it without him ever really seeing what he had done he didn't have a clue what it was so a way of teaching him about it is to get some books about pooing and potty training (I know it sounds gross but it helps lol). Riley particularly liked Pirate Pete's Potty and Zoo Poo but there are loads of different books on this subject to chose from.
Give them options
We got Riley a potty and a little soft toilet seat (we got ours from Pound Stretcher for about £2.99) and we let him choose which one he wanted to use, he sat on the potty once and said he didn't like it because it was uncomfortable so he tried the toilet seat and loved it and he's never looked back. If we had only had the potty I think trying to get him to sit on there and do anything would have been extremely difficult, I'm actually really pleased he didn't like the potty as it means we've skipped the whole transition from potty to toilet phase.
Make it less messy
The best time of the year to try potty training is during Summer as your child isn't wearing lots of layers of clothing and they can just run around in their pants outside keeping the inevitable accidents away from your sofas and carpets. Another great way to keep mess to a minimum is to use Dry Like Me pads which you pop in to your child's pants and they catch any accidents whilst still giving them the feeling of being wet, these were a god send for us during the first few days of Riley's potty training and they're great for using when you're out and about to make sure they don't make too much mess if they have an accident in a shop or cafe.
When it comes to potty training you really have to just stick with it, when we started with Riley we decided to skip using pull ups and just go straight for pants and day one was a nightmare! He must have wet himself 20 times, he just didn't seem to understand what we wanted him to do at all and I was pulling my hair out, all I wanted to do was put him back in nappies and give up but I rang my Mum and she said that the worst thing I could do was to start going backwards and forwards from nappies to pants, now we had got rid of nappies we had got to persevere, so we stuck it out and the next day he only had 5 accidents and the day after he dropped down to 1 accident a day, I was amazed at how quickly things had gone from a nightmare to him totally getting it.
Hopefully these tips helped but if you want lots more tips, advice, support as well as competitions and giveaways get yourself signed up to Potty Training Live, it's free and it launches today, you can also find it on Facebook and Twitter.