1. Introduce the conceptWe have always introduced the concept of potty training a few months before the girls have tackled it by talking about wee and poo, reading books (we like Princess Polly's Potty) and having a potty around in the bathroom for them to see and get used to, which they often sat on on their own accord just before their bath. Then we simply reiterated that when they were ready to wear pants to let us know.
2. Wait until they are readyThis is something I strongly believe in and if the timing is right it really works, there is no rush. Waiting until your child is ready is so important and putting them in control of their body will give them so much more confidence. All three of our girls initiated potty training themselves telling us they didn't want to wear nappies anymore and simply declared 'I'm wearing pants today', we went with it and enabled them to try.
3. Set aside some time and keep it simpleOnce the girls decided they wanted to potty train we kept out days simple, staying at home with just a pair of pants and t-shirt on and gentle, regular reminders asking them if they needed to go. We were then able to just focus on helping them figure it all out, from identifying when they need to go, to learning to pull their pants up and down and sit on the potty/toilet, to the hygiene of drying themselves and washing their hands.
4. Have patience and give lots of encouragementThere may be the odd accident particularly on the first few days, I think we had about a 50-60% success rate on day one and two. Being patient really pays with zero fuss and lots of reassurance that it doesn't matter and a reminder that 'next time we'll try and make it to the potty'. When the girls went on the potty we always celebrated with a big cheer and a big clap, seeing the pride on their faces was always so lovely. Siblings are really handy for potty training and I found it far easier the second and third time round as they had seen their big sister using the toilet and knew what to do and wanted to copy her.
All three girls found poos a little trickier and took a little longer to master than wees, probably because they require a bit of time sitting and waiting and the sensation feels so different to when they were in nappies. They were noticeably worried and nervous about it and needed lots of encouragement and reassurance. We sat reading a book or two to relax and distract slightly which seemed to work. If they went in their pants I just popped it in the potty for them to get used to seeing in there and to normalise it.
5. Be preparedYou don't need much to potty train, but lots of pants are handy. The girls have always been really enthusiastic about choosing their own pants, so we always make a special trip together to do that. I find the supermarket multipacks good value.
A potty is obviously an essential and a child's toilet seat to put on the toilet when they are ready to make the transition from potty to toilet. We have a 'Pourty', it's really easy to tip the waste into the toilet and to clean. Our 'Pourty' always comes with us in a carrier bag for the first week or so as I find that when they are first starting out they will tell you they need to go and they generally mean NOW! Once you ditch the potty make sure you familiarise yourself with where the nearest toilets are when you are out and about.
Pack a little bag with everything you'll need for when you're away from home - a few changes of pants and clothes, a potty, a carrier bag for any wet things and some wipes. Leggings and jogging bottoms are great potty training clothes as they are easy to pull up and down without a struggle. A tea towel for the car seat is also a good idea as if you have ever had to take a car seat cover off and wash it you'll know it's not exactly a speedy process!
I was really daunted by potty training but by tackling it in a child led way with lots of encouragement it was actually really straight forward. I hope this helps and good luck!