If you are preparing to toilet train your toddler, you may want to keep the following aspects in mind.
What to Expect when you are Getting Ready to Toilet Train your Child:
- Most children are ready to be toilet trained between 18-24 months. It is best to consult a pediatrician if your child is not toilet trained by 3 years.
- Some kids become toilet trained even as early as 15 months or as late as 4 years.
- In general, boys may start a little later than girls and also, take longer to be potty trained.
- Daytime dryness is usually achieved first and it could take a few more months for your child to learn to stay dry through the night.
- If your child doesn't achieve nighttime dryness by age 5, a medical consultation is advisable. However, it is quite common for some children to continue nighttime bedwetting much longer through the school years before it gradually subsides. Behavioural techniques as per the guidance of a medical professional are known to decrease bedwetting.
- It could take anywhere between 3-6 months to toilet train your child successfully.
- Your child is fully toilet trained when he is able to identify that he wants to use the toilet and is able to physically go to the bathroom, adjust his clothing, sit on the toilet and urinate/have a bowel movement.
The Common Signs that Indicate your Child is Ready to be Toilet Trained are when He/She:
- Is able to tell when he want to go/have already gone to the toilet through facial expressions, posture, sounds or using words
- Shows irritation and discomfort when diaper is wet or soiled
- Is able to keep diaper dry for at least two hours at a time
- Shows interest in using the toilet
- Tries to imitate others in their bathroom habits
Once you Observe these Signs in your Child, you can Begin the Process of Toilet Training by:
- Purchasing either a child seat that can be attached over the regular toilet seat or a portable child-sized potty chair to ensure that your child can sit comfortably and securely on the toilet.
- Making sure that all the people taking care of your child use the same method of toilet training and the same words for body parts as well as toilet routines. For instance, every caregiver takes the child to the toilet an hour after meals and refers to ‘urinating' as ‘peeing' and ‘bowel movements' as ‘pooping'.
- Dressing your child in clothes that he will find easy to remove or pull down on his own when going to the toilet.
- Demonstrating how to sit on the toilet and explaining what you are doing. Encourage the child also to sit on the potty and imitate you.
- Starting a habit where you get your child to sit on the potty whether he actually relieves himself or not, for 5-10 minutes every few hours or at specific times daily such as, an hour after each meal/a large intake of fluids, at wake up time or before bedtime.
- Keeping a portable child toilet seat with you when you go outdoors with your child, so that he can continue the habit of using the bathroom outside the home.
- Placing a small stool under your child's feet when he is sitting on the toilet. This will help your child to sit more comfortably and also allow him to have a better grip during the bowel movement, rather than when his legs are dangling.
- Getting your child gradually accustomed to cleaning himself after using the toilet, flushing and washing hands.
- Rewarding your child's participation in the process and his progress through praising his efforts and appropriate behaviours specifically. This will show the child that you noticed and also reinforce the expected behaviour.
- Involving your child in the cleanup process whenever he soils the diaper/clothes or the floor by getting them to throw the dirty diaper or put the dirty clothes for wash or help you wipe the floor. This is effective in motivating your child to go to the bathroom.
When Toilet Training your Child, it is Important to Avoid the Following:
- Starting the process at a stressful time such as when relocating to a new place, when a new sibling is born or when the child is sick.
- Punishing, ridiculing or scolding if he wets/soils his clothes or shows resistance during the process. Mistakes are bound to happen occasionally and are to be expected, especially when your child is emotionally distressed.
- Being pressured by family members and others into pushing your child to be toilet trained too fast. Be firm that each child learns at their own pace and your child is on the way to be fully toilet trained.
- Getting into a power struggle with your child and trying to force him to participate in the toilet training. This would make him more stubborn and resistant.
- Giving attention to your child only when you correct his toilet habits. He may start enjoying the attention he gets for his ‘wrong' behaviour and may choose to be uncooperative on purpose in order to continue getting this attention.