Most experts agree that the biggest factor in teaching kids to use the toilet is readiness, and if your child shows enthusiasm for the transition—interest in sitting on the potty, waking up dry from naps or reporting the goings-on in their diapers, for example—the season won’t matter. But that said, it’s definitely simpler for you if the toilet trial-and-error happens in the summer. Here are some of the reasons why (though just thinking about snowsuit versus swimsuit is probably enough to sway you):
Fewer (or no) clothes are required
Allowing kids to run around in the buff, or almost in the buff, is one of the tried-and-tested methods of potty-training. It works because kids immediately learn the sensation of going #1 or #2. Imagine trying to do this in the winter: You’d be stuck in your house, cleaning up accident after accident. In the summer, you can take it outside. Plan to spend a weekend in the backyard, so messes aren’t an issue. You can even take the potty on to the patio. Just make sure you have a tub of flushable wipes on hand. The wipes are pre-moistened and clean up to 30 per cent better than conventional toilet paper. Pro tips: If you go the way of nakedness, make sure little bums get a coat of sunscreen, and beware of poison ivy. Also, don’t let the nudity go on forever; kids eventually need to know how it feels to wear undies (and before the cool weather hits, or you’ll just have to start again!).
Wet clothes and sandals dry faster
Accidents happen, and your child might wet their pants which can also seep into socks and shoes. In the summer, you can change your little one’s clothing and lay the wet stuff to dry in the sun—this is a lot more pleasant when you’re out and about than dealing with a soggy bag of clothes later (and the fresh air helps with the smell!). Plus, summer means sandals, which can likely just be rinsed and laid out to dry.
It’s easier to get fluids into your child
Hydration is essential when teaching kids to pee in the proper place—if they don’t have the opportunity to try, how will they learn? In the summer, when the mercury rises, kids are all about cold drinks, juicy fruits, popsicles and freezies. All that liquid means they’ll get lots of practise on the potty.
You’re likely going to take vacation
Many parents take a week or two off work to hang with out with their kidlets in the summer. If you make it a staycation, you can do a boot-camp style potty-training session (naked or not). Being at home gives you the opportunity to be consistent with scheduled bathroom breaks.
Starting school may be an incentive
For parents, the threat of kindergarten means pressure to master the potty, but for some kids, the start of school is beyond exciting and may work as motivation. If you have a reluctant potty-user on your hands, the impending big-kid milestone may work in your favour. Explain that they need to learn to use the potty before their first big day of school (though be careful not to threaten, or you may derail the progress you’ve made so far!).
Potty-training essentials list
Make yourself a kit for the house and for the car, so you’ll be prepared whenever your little one says, “I have to go!”
- Two changes of clothing
- Two or three pairs of underwear or training pants
- A few emergency diapers
- Flushable wipes (such as Kandoo)
- A portable potty seat or toilet reducer
- Hand sanitizer (for when you’re traveling)
- Stickers and sticker chart (for rewarding your little one’s efforts)