1) What’s wee?
Make a drink for you both – it helps if it’s cold. Explain that when he drinks, the liquid goes down a tube into his stomach. If the drink is cold, he’ll be able to feel this.
Then explain that any liquid his body doesn’t need comes out of his willy, and this journey through his body can take a little while.
Finish your drinks and challenge him to a race. Whose drink will come out first? Keep asking, ‘Is your drink ready to come out?’
At this stage, it doesn’t matter if he just wants to win the game, and says it has after two minutes – you’re helping him be aware of his body and how it feels when a wee is coming.
When he does wee (you’ll soon recognise the blank expression on his face when it happens), help him to identify the feeling by saying, ‘Is that your drink coming out? Are you having a wee?’
Once you’ve played this game a few times, he’ll soon start to identify the feeling for himself and tell you. Keep playing, and he’ll start to identify the feeling of needing a wee too.
Has your child ever had a good look at his poo? Seeing that brown thing in his potty can come as a shock.
2) What’s poo?
When you’re eating, explain that the food goes down into his stomach, where his body takes out the useful bits it needs. Then all the bits it doesn’t need come out of his bottom as poo.
Because a toddler doesn’t chew his food as well as an older child or adult, undigested food often passes through his body unscathed. This is especially true of hard-to-digest foods, such as sweetcorn, raisins and blueberries.
Eat some sweetcorn (or whatever your child likes) together and suggest that you see how long it takes for the food to come out as poo.
Help your child tune into his body signals by asking him later, ‘Where do you think the sweetcorn is now? Is it ready to be a poo?’
Talk about how your body feels when you need a poo. At first, he’ll identify the feeling of having a poo. If you keep playing the game, he’ll soon identify the feeling of needing a poo.
When you change his nappy, show him his poo once you’ve cleaned him up. Is this the sweetcorn poo?
Answer whatever questions he has as truthfully as you can. You can also teach him some basic hygiene rules concerning poo, such as not touching it. Show him where the poo goes next too by tipping it down the loo and encouraging him to say, ‘Bye-bye, poo.’
Toddlers can find being on a potty uncomfortable. After sitting on the soft cushion of a nappy, a potty feels hard and cold. This game gets them used to being on the potty and makes it fun.
4) Sing the potty song
Build a ‘potty song’ into your bedtime routine, at a time when he is naturally without a nappy. So, encourage him to sit on the potty while you both sing, and do the actions to, ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’.
Start with just the first verse, but gradually get him sitting on the potty for longer by adding another verse, and so on. A good time to play is when you’re running the bath, as the noise of the water may encourage him to wee. If he does, praise him!