Toilet Training Information - A Guide to Help You With Toilet Training
Toilet Training Signs That Your Child is Ready
You might see signs that your child is ready for toilet training from about two years on. Some children show signs of being ready as early as 18 months, and some might be older than two years.
Your child is showing sign of being ready when they:
- Are walking and can sit for short periods of time
- Are becoming generally more independent when it comes to completing tasks, including saying ‘no’ more often
- Are becoming interested in watching others go to the toilet – this can make you uncomfortable, but it’s a good way to introduce things
- Have dry nappies for up to two hours this shows they can store wee in their bladder (which automatically empties in younger babies or newborns)
- Tell you with words or gestures when they do a poo or wee in their nappy – if they can tell you before it happens, they’re ready to toilet training
- Begin to dislike wearing a nappy, perhaps trying to pull it off when it’s wet or soiled
- Have regular, soft, formed bowel movements
- Can pull their pants up and down
- Can follow simple instructions like ‘give the ball to daddy’
- Show understanding about things having their place around the home.
Not all these signs need to be present when your child is ready. A general trend will let you know it’s time to start
Here are Some Tips for Getting Ready:
- Teach your child some words for going to the toilet – for example, ‘wee’, ‘poo’ and ‘I need to go’.
- When you change your child’s nappy, put the wet and dirty nappies in the potty – This can help your child understand what the potty is for.
- Let your child try sitting on the potty or the small toilet seat to get familiar with the new equipment.
- Let your child watch you or other trusted family members using the toilet and talk about what you’re doing
- Once or twice a day you might want to start putting trainer pants on your child. This helps your child understand the feeling of wetness.
- Make sure your child is eating plenty of fibre and drinking lots of water so your child doesn’t get constipated. Constipation can make toilet training harder.
Getting Ready for Toilet Training
If you think your child is showing signs of being ready for toilet training, the first step is to decide whether you want to train using a potty or the toilet.
There are some advantages to using a potty – it’s mobile and it’s familiar, and some children find it less scary than a toilet. Try to find out your child’s preferences and go with that. Some parents encourage their child to use both the toilet and potty.
Second, make sure you have all the right equipment. For example, if your child is using the toilet you’ll need a step for your child to stand on. You’ll also need a smaller seat that fits securely inside the exiting toilet seat, because some children get uneasy about falling in.
Third, its best to start toilet training for a time when you don’t have any big changes coming up in your family life. Changes might include going on holiday, starting day care, having a new baby or moving to a new house. It can be a good idea to plan toilet training for well before or after these changes.
Also toilet training might go better if you and your child have regular daily routine. This way, the new activity of using the toilet or potty can be slotted into your normal routine.
Starting Toilet Training
It’s good to start toilet training on a day when you have no plans to leave the house. The tips below can help with toilet training once the big day arrives.
Sit your child on the potty at times when poos often happen, like 30 minutes after eating or after having a bath. This doesn’t work for all children – true toilet training begins when your child is aware of doing a wee or poo and is interested in learning the process.
Look out for signs that your child needs to go to the toilet. Cues include changes in posture, passing wind, going quiet or moving to a different room by themselves.
If your child doesn’t do a wee or poo after 3-5 minutes of sitting on the potty or toilet, take your child off. It’s best not to make your child sit on the toilet for long periods of time, because this will feel like a punishment.
Encouraging and Reminding Your Child:
Praise your child for trying (even if progress is slow), especially when they’re successful. You could say, ‘well done for sitting on the potty’. This lets your child know they’re doing a good job. Gradually reduce the amount of praise as your child masters each part of the process. At different stages throughout the day (but not too often), ask your child if they need to go to the toilet. Gentle reminders are enough, it’s best if your child doesn’t feel pressured.
If your child misses the toilet, try not to get frustrated. Children don’t usually have accidents on purpose, so just clean up without any comments or fuss.
Pants and Clothing:
Stop using nappies (except at night and during daytime sleeps). Start using underpants or training pants all the time. You can even let your child choose some underpants, which can be an exciting step.
Dress your child in clothes that are easy to take off. For example, trousers with elastic waistbands, rather than full body suits. In warmer weather, you might like to leave your child in underpants when you’re at home.
Wipe your child’s bottom until your child learns how. Remember to wipe from the front to the back, particularly with girls.
Teach your son to shake his penis after a wee to get rid of any drops. Early on in toilet training it sometimes helps to float a ping pong ball in the toilet for your son to aim at or he might prefer to sit to do a wee, which can be less messy.
Teach your child how to wash hands after using the toilet. This can be a fun activity that your child enjoys as part of the routine.