When it comes to toilet training your toddler, though some parents view this with a sense of trepidation, for most, it is a time that cannot come soon enough.
Thankfully, most children start to show signs that they are ready for toilet training between the ages of 18 and 30 months. Before 18 months, most children can’t fully control their bladder and bowel muscles. Your child will let you know in their own way that they are ready to start toilet training.
When are children ready for toilet training?
There are a few signs that your child is ready for further toilet training. This may include children who:
- Show interest in the toilet or in wearing underpants
- Express through words or expressions that they need to go to the bathroom
- Hint that the diaper is wet or dirty
- Feel uncomfortable if the diaper gets dirty and try to remove it without help
- Stay dry for at least 2 hours during the day
- Can pull down their pants and pull them back up
- Can understand and follow basic instructions
It’s a good idea to choose a time when you don’t have other major events planned, such as a vacation, a big move, or a work project that will require extra time from you. The schedule is key here and working with your child in an environment they are familiar and comfortable with will help.
Don’t push your child to learn too quickly. If your child feels pressure to potty train before they are ready, it may take longer for them to learn. If your child resists the training, it means they aren’t ready yet. So back off and wait a few weeks before trying again.
One of the most challenging aspects of toilet training for many parents is the uneven pace at which different training types can occur. Your child can learn to urinate into a toilet very quickly, but it can take many more months for him to start having a bowel movement in it. Daytime training may have been easy for your toddler, but it is not unusual for him to wet the bed until he is five years old.
Since the order and speed with which each of these skills is mastered can change from child to child, it is impossible to compare one child’s mastery to another to determine whether your child’s progress is “normal.” In most cases, the best response to skill mismatch is patience and understanding; giving your child the time they need to be successful in their own right.
Getting Ready to Toilet Train
To start potty training you will need to:
- Buy a training potty seat and potty chair – you may need more than one if you have bathrooms or play areas on different levels of the house.
- Place the potty chair near your child’s play area so they can see and touch it.
- Establish a routine. Once a day, have your child sit on the potty fully clothed. Never force them to sit on it, and let them get off it when they want to.
- Once they are comfortable sitting on the chair, have them sit on it without diapers and pants.
- Show them how to pull down their pants before getting on the potty.
- Children learn by watching others. Let your child watch you or their siblings use the toilet and let them practice flushing it.
- Help your child know how to talk about the bathroom using simple terms like “poop” and “pee.”
Teaching Your Child to Use the Toilet
Once your child is comfortable sitting on the potty chair without diapers, you can start to show them how to use it.
- Put stool from their diaper into the potty chair.
- Have them watch while you transfer the stool from the potty chair into the toilet.
- Have them flush the toilet and watch as it flushes. This will help them learn that the toilet is where poop goes.
- Be alert for when your child signals that they might need to use the toilet. Take your child to the potty quickly and praise your child for telling you.
- Teach your child to stop what they are doing and go to the potty when they feel like they need to go to the bathroom.
- Stay with your child when they are sitting on the potty. Reading a book or talking to them may help them relax.
- Teach your child to wipe themselves after passing stool. Teach girls to wipe from front to back to help prevent stool from getting near the vagina.
- Be sure your child washes their hands properly every time after using the toilet.
- Praise your child every time they go to the toilet, even if all they do is sit there. Your goal is to help them connect the feelings of needing to go to the bathroom with going to the toilet and using it.
Once your child has learned how to use the toilet pretty regularly, you may want to try using pull-up training pants. That way your child can get in and out of them without help.
Most children take about 3 to 6 months to learn how to use the toilet. Girls usually learn to use the toilet faster than boys. Children commonly remain in diapers till about age 2 to 3 years old.
Playing with poop!
Delays in bowel control can be particularly upsetting for many parents. This upset is compounded when children display disruptive behaviour such as secretly depositing poop in a closet or other hidden place, staining the walls or any other surface with poop, or crying out when their stool goes down the toilet. (Yes it happens)!
Our adult associations with poop are so negative that it is difficult to remember that all young children have little awareness of the presence of germs, the potential for disorder, culturally attached stigma, etc.
In contrast, toddlers and preschoolers often take pride in the product their bodies have created; they expect praise and admiration, not displeasure, and are reluctant and even anxious to let these products go away. This reluctance can increase even more during periods when mastery of their body or privacy becomes a high priority in their lives. When they experience fear of toilet training, it is impossible for them to progress and improves!
In most cases, hiding or playing with poop or resisting toilet training is a normal part of early childhood that will soon pass if you don’t respond to this in an overly emotional way. Instead, calmly ask your child why he is behaving that way, firmly remind him of the rules about where poop goes and work to find a solution to his problem, preferably with his help. You may find that your child is more likely to flush his poop down the toilet if he will then be allowed to flush the toilet and let the water go himself. You may also decide that it is necessary to supervise your child’s use of the bathroom until his interest in playing with poop has passed.
In many cases, when your child’s health and other important considerations are not at risk, you may find that the best solution is to wait until your child is simply more mature before tackling toilet training. If so, you may find that what at first seemed like a long stretch between bladder and bowel training was no more than three to four weeks.
While bowel control at night occurs early and naturally in most children, bladder control usually happens much later, often months or even years after daytime training ends, and requires conscious effort.
Bed Wetting In Toddlers
Even after staying dry during the day, most children need more time to be able to sleep through the night without wetting the bed.
Thirty per cent of children in America continue to wet the bed in their sleep after they have finished daytime toilet training. Bedwetting continues to be reasonably common up to the age of five and does not usually require medical intervention until age eight to ten. Many children under the age of six cannot physiologically stay dry at night, as their bladders have not matured enough. Their bodies have not yet got to the point where it naturally awakens them when it is time to urinate. Almost every child will experience bedwetting a few times before the toilet training process is entirely over.
Since conflicts over such setbacks can easily lead to resistance during the day, it is usually best to minimize nighttime toilet training during your child’s early years to possibly the preschool years. If your child can always wake up to use the bathroom when he is two or three years old, consider yourself lucky and let him do it. If accidents happen frequently, try to leave him in his training pants or even a diaper overnight.
Respond calmly to any accidents that occur. This time will pass, and you will get through this.
Do you have your own toilet training tips? What worked for your little one?
Please share your comments and learnings with our other new moms below.
Originally posted 2021-02-17 08:47:48.