Potty training

What's your potty personality? If you like to be well-equipped, you've got plenty of gear to choose among. There are on-the-floor potties, convertible potties, step stools that once were potties, potties with handles, cushioned potties, seats that attach to an adult-size toilet, attachable seats that pull up to allow adults to use the same toilet, decorated and cushioned seats and water-filled seats with tiny ducks floating inside. Not to mention a tuneful potty that plays a melody when flushed. And for the toddler who wants complete participation, there are flushable wipes and training pants that look a lot like underwear but are more absorbent.

Judging Potties

When it comes right down to it, the only piece of potty-training equipment you need to start is one you already have: a toilet. These days, though, many paediatricians and parents recommend bypassing the toilet, which can be intimidating, and starting the process with a potty that your youngster can claim for their own. Some parents have also found that if a toddler helps pick out their own potty, they’re more likely to use it.

An on-the-floor potty has some built-in advantages for a toddler. It's pint-size, just like they are. It's also easily accessible so your little one can get used to sitting on it without help, and it doesn't need to be flushed (though what's good for toddlers is sometimes more work for parents). The just-right height of an on-the-floor potty means that your child can plant their feet firmly on the floor, which is important for pushing during bowel movements. Look for one with a wide-enough base to prevent tipping when they lean to the side to check their progress.

Adapter Seats

If your child is intrigued by the big toilet and wants to go to the loo just like their parents, you can choose a clip-on potty seat that attaches to the toilet. Make sure that the seat attaches securely and doesn't wobble; if it's not steady, your child may feel uneasy about using it. Some paediatricians recommend this type of seat because it makes the transition to the adult-size toilet easier.

If you do opt for an adapter seat for your toilet, make sure that you also invest in a step stool to place below it. This will allow your child to stabilise themself when pushing during bowel movements. Your toddler will also need less help getting up and down. A step stool can be doubly useful in the bathroom: After using one at the toilet, your child can then pull it over to the sink to wash their hands.

Twofers

Some child-size potties offer the best of both worlds, with seats that lift off to attach to the big toilet when your child is ready. Others fold down to serve as a step stool. Whether you opt for a simple potty chair or a model that does double duty, look for one that's sturdy – it should be light enough for your child to manoeuvre, but solid enough to take their full weight. Stand-alone potty chairs and attachable models should have a seat that's padded or shaped for little bottoms.

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Training Pants, Wipes and More

Some parents use disposable training pants that look more like underwear to help their toddlers get the knack of pulling their pants on and off. Less cumbersome than nappies, they're also less work for parents when accidents happen (as they always do), and your toddler can help by disposing of it themself. Exchanging nappies for disposable pants can be a big event for a toddler on their way to underwear but with extra protection.

You've also been teaching your toddler about cleanliness, helping them to wipe themselves and showing him or her how to wash their hands each time they use the potty. Pre-moistened wipes can make that job a little simpler for your toddler: They're easier for little hands to manipulate during wiping and they can help your little one get cleaner than using dry tissue alone. Look for wipes designed for potty use that are flushable.

Cleaning up accidents is part of potty-training, but you can eliminate some spills by giving your little boy something to aim at. There are biodegradable, fish-shaped targets available commercially which some parents swear by.

While you can't rush the process, you can help your child to make the transition by offering the right equipment, your support and encouragement, and lots of praise and positive reinforcement.

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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