I have had to endure the dreaded potty training more times than I care to mention.  First, with my nieces, then when I was working as a nanny and finally my own 3 (so far).

To succeed in what may seem like an almighty task you will need the three P’s………Potty (although you can use a good old fashioned toilet), Patience and Perseverance. It may also help to learn a good deep breathing technique. There are no magic tricks, it is a rite of passage as a mother, you gotta  just suck it up and do it.

At whatever age you feel that you and your child may be ready (usually from around 2yrs upwards) then the best approach is to just go for it, hang up the cloth nappies or start planning how you’ll be spending all the money you’ll be saving on disposables . Go straight to pants and don’t go back, it’s really vital that you don’t confuse the child by bouncing from nappy to pants. I feel that pulling off the band aid is less confusing to the child and gives them the message that the potty is staying.  In my experience children feel fear and will pick up on every sense of apprehension you may be feeling so, try to lock away any negative vibes they will only stress you further. If you prepare yourself for the fact that it won’t happen overnight, but if you’re consistent, positive and attentive then it shouldn’t take any longer than a couple of weeks…….night-times however can take longer so stick with the nappies or pull ups for bed time until the point whereby they are getting up in the morning and still dry.

The key is to knuckle down, have the anti-bac to hand and watch.  Watch for tell-tale signs, keep an eye on the timings, you’ll start to see a pattern of behaviour that your child will show around the times when they need to use the potty.  You’ll also notice timings.  In the beginning I recommend that you just sit them on the potty every half hour (ish), sit beside them, talk to them and encourage them.  They may be feeling really insecure being naked and ‘letting go’ somewhere other than their nappies.  I found it really useful to get a book en-route to the potty and sit and read with them. Distraction is a great tool……the bigger deal you make of it the bigger the child will feel the deal is, play it down.  Always stay calm, get yourself a mantra, mine was “no child ever went to school wearing a nappy”.  There will be accidents along the way, in which case you mop them up and say no more about it. There may also be tantrums along the way, in which case I recommend that you have them in a different room!

The most important thing throughout this whole process is praise! Who doesn’t love a bit of praise? And whilst we’re at it, who doesn’t love a reward when doing something good? A great big cheer and hug go along way with children but, probably not as far as a square of chocolate.  You could see this as blackmail or you could see this as a means to an end.  However you see it, it does work!

So my fellow mothers draw your strength, plan your course of action, bulk by your milky bar stars, go forth and potty train.