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How to toilet train your toddler

Getting your little one out of nappies and on to the toilet is a big moment for both of you. They feel grown up, and you can begin to see an end to the delights of changing nappies! Try not to feel pressured into getting them out of nappies before they're ready - nothing slows it down more than rushing them. Here are a few games from dads and mums to make toilet training fun.

Games to get your little one to sit on the potty

Tip #1: Blow bubbles

Got a wriggler on your hands? If they won't sit still on the potty, try blowing bubbles with your toddler to keep them seated. You can use shampoo or soapy hands to get bubbles of all sizes.

Your child’s development: Even if they're holding it in, blowing bubbles will help them relax. Great if your little one can't "go".

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Tip #2: Read to them

Reading while toilet training

Reading while toilet training

Putting their favourite book by the potty so that you can read it to them can help change the way your little one thinks about potty time. It might even make it something to look forward to.

Your child’s development: Having you read to them is relaxing for young children – perfect for toilet time. Storytime helps with their language and even reading later in life.

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Tip #3: On your marks, get set, pee!

Children like putting their mark on things – and the more familiar they are with something, the more relaxed they'll be. So let them play with their potty well before they begin to use it. If you can, help them make a label with their name on it to stick on the potty. That means no one else will use it, like big brother.

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Tip #4: Help them make a sign for the bathroom door

They'll love telling other people where to go to use the loo, especially as it's now a room they get to use too.

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Games to teach your little one what to do on the potty

Tip #1: Teach a toy

Tell your child that teddy needs to use the loo and show them what happens next. Make it into a game, so they get the hang of all the steps teddy needs to follow. They'll soon be able to tell you if teddy has remembered to:

  • Pulled down their pants?
  • Sit on the loo?
  • Had a wee/poo?
  • Wiped their bottom?
  • Pulled up their pants?
  • Flushed?
  • Washed and dried their hands?

If so then it's a gold star for teddy! If you show them that using the potty properly is rewarded, then they'll want a gold star too.

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Tip #2: Old MacDonald had a wee

That's probably not the version you remember but adding silly toilet words to a well-known song will bring some fun to potty time. The sillier the words, the better. Twinkle Twinkle Little Pee?

Your child’s development: Kids love singing nursery songs. By adding potty training to something they already love, you're making it into something fun and familiar at the same time.

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Games to help your child wash their hands

Tip #1: Slippery fish!

washing hands together

washing hands together

If you have a bar of soap, pretend it's very slippery, and you can't hold it! Have fun letting the soap escape from your hands and ask your little one to try and catch it! Wriggling it out of their hands under the tap is a sneaky way to get small palms and fingers clean.

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Tip #2: Germ patrol!

Oh no, have you spotted some germs on their hands? Try describing what these teeny-weeny beasties look like. Better wash them all away to keep little hands nice and clean. Maybe you could point out those special places (between fingers!) where the germs like to hide.

Germs are hard for your little one to understand because they're invisible. Try covering their hands in a mixture of mud and water to show them what germs would look like, and then get them to wash it off. This should help them to understand how important it is to clean their hands!

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Tips from parents for getting through potty training:

  • "They'll go when they're ready"
  • "Try and not get stressed out when people unhelpfully say that theirs were out of nappies at 18 months! Every child is different and some will be much later than that so follow your child's lead and trust yourself a bit more"
  • "The best advice would be if they are having accidents constantly then don't be afraid to go back the way and try again later"
  • "After potty training 4 children... I just want anyone who needs to hear this to know that you can pop that kid on the potty every 15 mins until you are blue in the face and they still will not do it until they are ready"

Make it fun:

  • "Potty train their toys at the same time"
  • "Let them play with the potty so they didn't get scared of it "
  • "Keep the pressure off"
  • "We picked Easter hols so we'd have a couple of weeks with not a lot of pressure to go places etc"
  • "Patience!!! Lots of happy clapping when they go on the potty! And make light of accidents so they don't feel bad, just lots of positivity"

This article was created as part of

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