Potty training begins at birth! Crazy at it sounds, a child’s attitude to all things ‘potty’ begins at the very start.
As you know, you are responsible for every sound, feeling, belief and understanding that your little one has – so if, when you find yourself faced with a particularly smelly, or wet nappy and you say ‘yuck’ or ‘poo’ or anything suchlike, you are giving you child the impression that that is bad, nasty, smelly – generally ‘wrong’!
So, as odd as it sounds, if, from the start you let your little one know that any of their bodily functions are good, right and proper, when it comes to potty training their relationship with these ‘evacuations’ is that they are fine, OK and normal. So, when you suggest to them that putting their wee (my family word!), or poo (the other family word!) in a potty – that is a reasonable proposition… No more nappies, joining the world of older people. This is also helped if, again from the start your little person sees you and other family members using the toilet – reinforcing the fact that weeing and pooing are normal, and that most people don’t do it in their knickers/pants!!
So, when it feels to you (you are the expert on your child) that the time is right, that your child is aware of when he or she is weeing or pooing (of course your child will be familiar with your words for these actions); get a potty – get two potties! For ease, if you live on two floors, one upstairs and one downstairs! Allow your little one to explore it, other family members can acknowledge it and rejoice in the fact that soon this little person will be using this method of moving from nappy wearing person to big boy or girl. There is no rush! Once your child is used the concept, spend some time with nappy and then nappyless sitting on the potty – maybe enjoying a book at the same time – so that sitting on the potty is an event that has pleasurable associations – ‘when we do this I get to one-to-one time with Mummy (or anyone) and good stuff happens’ . When, the inevitable happens and there is a tinkle or a plop – celebrate, congratulate, then move on…
You will already have an idea of the patterns your child has established in toileting, so you will already have an idea of what is likely to happen when, so you can incorporate the ‘nice sitting together whilst you are on the potty’ times with your child’s natural rhythms – and you little one will get used to the awareness that he or she has ownership of these natural bodily functions and has an opportunity to show off!
Most importantly, remember this is not a competition, your child will be potty trained at the right time for him or her, rather than when some external ‘expert’ tells you it should be. You will both get there and your child will be happy and confident in this other, new, skill that he or she has learned.