14/12/2009 12:04 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Ask Joanne - Ready For Potty Training Or Not?

What's your dilemma about being a parent? Send it in to our life coach Joanne Mallon here for some practical help. Say if you'd like your name changed.

Sarah and Gary wrote in about their son:

Our 2yr 5mth old son has not yet shown any signs that he's ready to be potty trained, apart from he doesn't like his nappy being changed. He has a potty and will sit on it, but not for long. Even when we read his favourite books to him while he's on it, he'll get up and would rather march around with it on his head. He is a very good talker and quite a stubborn child who knows what he wants, but when should we start getting tougher about this? We aren't anxious about it, just first-time parents and don't know what to do for the best?

Here's our life coach's reply:

Dear Sarah and Gary

It certainly sounds like he's on his way, but I think you're right to tread carefully and not attempt to rush things. I know many parents prefer not to potty train during the winter, simply because it's easier to let your child run around with no nappy in warmer weather.

Other signs to look out for include:

  • Can he tell you if he's wet or soiled his nappy?
    A big part of potty training is helping the child to work out the physical feeling that signals they need to go to the loo, and to be able to hang on until they actually get to a toilet.
  • Is he dry for at least 2-3 hours at a time in the day?
  • Does he go off by himself somewhere private to fill his nappy? This indicates that he knows what's happening.

Children who are prone to being stubborn will tend to resist if you try to force them to do something. Look for ways in which he can feel more in control of the process. Let him choose some really nice pants with his favourite characters on them. He may decide that it's worth making the effort to keep Ben 10 dry.

If he goes to nursery, ask their advice about whether he seems ready for potty training. He may be keener to wear 'big boy pants' and use the loo if all his friends are doing it.

Think about what motivates him – maybe some stickers or a few Smarties – and reward his progress. Keep encouraging him to sit on the potty, next step after this is to sit on it without a nappy. Then, when he's comfortable with that, next step is to try to make a deposit in the potty. All of this could take several weeks, though I have found that the later you leave it, the quicker the child is to become dry. So if he's closer to three by the time he gets it, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Hope this helps and good luck to you all


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