I get asked this allllll the time.....as in at every workshop that I facilitate.
Should I toilet train using a potty or can I go straight to the toilet?
There is a place for using a potty as part of the toilet training journey.
The easiest way to find out if your child is going to need a potty is to ask them if they would prefer to use the potty or the toilet.
Some kids who are close to 3 years or older would prefer to use the toilet. Kids who attend daycare or kindy, that have the little toilets, will often prefer to use the loo also. Obviously they see others using it and it feels more natural for them.
I don't recommend these types of potties - only because I think they are really expensive and they just add to landfill waste.
For most kids, the potty stage is a short phase so it is not really worth investing more than $25 on a potty.
I also don't recommend that you buy a really cheap $5 potty. Only because a lot of them are really too small for 18 month - 3 year old's little bottoms.
Skipping the Potty Stage
If you are going to encourage your child to use the toilet and skip the potty stage then I highly recommend a separate step stool and a toilet insert. Obviously the worst case scenario would be that your child gets a fright because their bottom slides into the toilet bowl. Making them comfy with a little seat is a must.
Lots of people do try these ladder and seat attachments which I purposefully don't sell at Looloo because:
1. They are really cumbersome to get on and off the toilet
2. Unlike a separate toilet insert, they are not very portable to take to Nana's house etc
3. They are often quite unstable and slide around a lot, making the child feel insecure
4. You end up having to buy a separate step stool so they can reach the bathroom sink to wash their hands so it ends up being more expensive.
I loooooove this combo. Nice high step stool that has rubber on it for added safety and a toilet insert that has rubber along the base to stop it sliding... You can purchase these items separately or in a combo with these goodies HERE.
Find the step stools HERE
Find the toilet inserts HERE
Here's why the potty is a great tool to help you make the transition from nappies to underwear a smooth one:
1. Body position
They naturally put kids in a squatting position which is the optimal position for doing a poo.
Alot of serial nappy users prefer to poo standing up. The potty puts them into the position that they will need to do on the toilet. See our blog about Catching a Poo in the Loo for more Click HERE
Most of us will witness our kids do the 'wee wee dance' sometimes in their lives. You know it's the little jiggle they do when they realise that they have held on too long and that they are now busting to go.
When kids are learning to do their wees in a potty rather than a nappy they are learning to read their body signals. It can take time for them to start to preempt that wees are about to come out. So with very little warning a child is able to quickly get on the potty and catch a wee.
By putting a potty near the kids play area they are less likely to have an accident.
3. It fosters independence
The kids can get on and off them independently unlike a toilet which requires parental assistance in the initial stages.
If you have a strong willed child, the simple act of asking your child
"Would you like to use the toilet or the potty?"
Can make them feel that they are able to make decisions and regain control of what can be rather a daunting process (especially for our control freaks).
A child who insists on doing a poo behind the couch or in the wardrobe can take the potty to where they feel most relaxed.
It gives greater ownership because the potty colour or type could be the choice of the child. They can even have stickers around the outside of the potty to help desensitise the potty, it can become a racing car seat or a princess throne.
If your child prefers to use their potty you can take it to different places such as Nana's house, coffee group or the park. That way your child does not have to negotiate using different toilets and can take their 'happy place' where ever they go. This is great for children who are quite sensitive to change or unsure of using unfamiliar toilets.
6. Provide a transition
The potty can provide a transition from nappies in a way that is less daunting than going straight to the toilet. By putting the potty out during the day in the toilet room, your child can sit on the potty when you are on the toilet.
Or put it in the bathroom at night for your child to use before they get into the bath. Or put is bedside their bed at night to use before they go to sleep (this is great for those who use toileting as an excuse for not going to sleep for hours on end).
7. Make it a game
You are more likely to catch their first wee or poo on the potty. By putting a Weepals sticker at the bottom, your child will see that if they do a continuous stream of wee; a fun character will appear.
To check out the potties that I recommend click HERE