Toilet training can be one of the biggest challenges for parents. When to start? How to start? Should you go straight from nappies to underwear? These are all frequent questions that we often get asked at our services.
Being “toilet trained” means that a child moves from a state of incontinence to a state of continence and it usually takes some time for children to be completely competent at using the toilet.
Generally, children are ready to toilet train between 2 and 3 years of age. It’s important for parents to follow the child’s lead for the experience be a positive and successful one.
Learning to use the toilet or potty is a big step for a toddler and it can be difficult to learn. Some toddlers learn quickly while others need lots of gentle support and encouragement from their parents and carers.
Our educators and have lots of experience with toilet training toddlers. They are here to support and assist your child through this stage of development and will partner with you to make sure your child needs are being met.
Given that the weather is warming up, now could be a good time to assess if your child is showing signs that they are ready to begin the process.
Belinda Ludlow CEO
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR THAT MAY INDICATE THAT YOUR CHILD IS READY TO START TOILET TRAINING
Your child shows interest in what is happening in their nappy and can tell you when they are doing something in their nappy.
They are interested in watching you and other family members in the bathroom.
They have a dry nappy for a period of about 2 hours.
They can follow simple instructions.
They can pull their pants up and down.
TOILET TRAINING STEPS
Start by gently sitting your child on the toilet, 20 to 30 mins after eating or drinking, using a seat attachment (especially for children) on your toilet to allow them to comfortably use your toilet. A great incentive for children is that it is just like mum/dad/siblings using the ‘big’ toilet.
Let your child watch you or their siblings use the toilet; this is a great learning experience for them.
Try only using underpants during the day and be prepared for some accidents. Your child will need reminders to use the toilet. Use phrases such as “it’s toilet time” or “time to go to the toilet” rather than asking “do you need to go to the toilet?”
Give your child a 5 minute and then a 2 minute reminder (i.e. it will be time to go to the toilet in 5 minutes), so they are prompted to finish what they are playing with and prepare themselves. Sometimes children do not want to leave what they are doing to use the toilet as they don’t want the experiences to end. Remember to remind your child they can come back to what they are doing so your child knows they won’t “miss out” for using the toilet.
Praise your child when they use the toilet whether it is “just a practice” or if they go. Tell them how proud you are and what a good effort they have made.
If your child has an accident remember to tell them it’s okay and even if you feel disappointed or frustrated, don’t show it. Change and clean your child and let them know they can try again.
Children are capable of washing their hands and should be encouraged to do so each time they go to the toilet.
It’s common for children to be fully toilet trained in the daytime but for many it takes longer to stay ‘dry’ overnight. Set up good habits from the start by ensuring your child uses the toilet prior to bedtime. In the very early stages a pull-up nappy overnight may help your child gain confidence, however it’s not recommended as a long term option.
THE BEST CLOTHING TO WEAR WHEN TOILET TRAINING
Take your child shopping and let them choose their own underpants. This is a big step and they will be excited when they can wear their very own underpants.
Pants with elastic – overalls and pants with belts and ties are too tricky for most children to remove themselves and can mean the difference between an accident in front of the toilet trying to get undressed or a successful toileting experience.
It’s best not to start toilet training at a time when your toddler is adjusting to change e.g. the arrival of a new brother or sister, moving house or starting something new.
If your child regresses or makes it clear they do not want to start toilet training (even after a month of trying toilet training), do not push or force the issue. This can make them become fearful of the toileting experience.
Explain it is okay if they do not want to use the toilet but they will need to wear a nappy and if they change their mind they can use the toilet. Most times children will decide to start using the toilet again after a short period of time.
Start only when your toddler is showing signs of being ready and not because you as the parent are being pressured by others to start toddler toilet training too early.
Make sure you talk to your educators well in advance as they can help give advice on whether your child is showing signs of being ready when in their care. Early planning and involvement with all parties can help ensure that the transition is as smooth and relaxing as possible
At the end of the day, relax and follow your child’s lead.