Toilet Training Guide for Toddlers

Toilet Training Guide for Toddlers

Helping your child start to use the potty (or toilet) is a big and very exciting step for you both. If you stay positive and calm, your child will be more likely to settle into things. The secret is to wait for signs that your child is ready for toilet training.

Children usually learn to use the toilet between 18 months and 4 years. Not all kids are ready at the same age. Your child may show signs that they are ready and there are things you can do to help them move out of nappies.

Toilet training tips

➧ Learning to control the bladder and bowels is an exercise that should be carried effortlessly during early childhood.

➧ Toilet training should be approached with a lot of patience and care.

➧ By one year, some children have been training successfully on toilet manners, while others get their training at one-and-a-half years of age.

➧ Some children may take up to two years before achieving this goal.

➧ It is important for mothers to realize that some children are ready for toilet training much earlier than others. This means that there should be a lot of understanding between the mother and the child and there should be no fuss about it.

➧ The mother can start a toilet by observing the times when the baby normally opens the bowels and then keep a record of this. If this is done the mother will get a definite pattern established. Thus, by the time the baby is one-and-a-half years old he is aware when he needs to go to the toilet. And at two years the baby may be able to do it alone without coaching.

➧ The baby should not be put on the potty for more than five minutes nor be left alone because he may associate the potty with loneliness.

➧ Bladder training follows a similar pattern, though it comes much later after bowel control.

➧ Toilet training should not be accompanied by emotional tension, scolding or punishment.

➧ If the child is having difficulties in training, it may mean that he is not ready for it.

➧ It is important not to expect immediate perfection after starting.

➧ Sometimes children revert to soiling themselves. The adult-in-charge should try to find out the reason and should be supportive and encouraging to the child.

Toilet training: when to start?

Children learn to tell when they need to do a poo or wee at different ages.

Generally, signs that your child is ready for toilet training appears from about two years on, although some children show signs of being ready at 18 months. Night-time training can be as late as eight years, although most children stop wetting at night by the time they’re five.

Before introducing the toilet or potty, it helps a lot if you have an established daily routine with your child. This way, the new activity of using the toilet or potty can be slotted into your normal routine.

Your child is showing some signs of being ready if he: 

☛is walking and can sit for short periods of time

☛is becoming generally more independent when it comes to completing tasks

☛is becoming interested in watching others go to the toilet (this can be awkward or make you uncomfortable at first, but is a good way to introduce things)

☛has dry nappies for up to two hours – this shows he’s able to store wee in his bladder (which automatically empties in younger babies or newborns)

☛tells you (or shows obvious signs) when he does a poo or wee in his nappy – if he can tell you before it happens, he’s ready for toilet training

☛begins to dislike wearing a nappy, perhaps trying to pull it off when it’s wet or soiled

☛has regular, soft, formed bowel movements

☛can pull his pants up and down

☛can follow simple instructions, such as ‘Give the ball to daddy’

☛shows 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.

What to do if your child starts wetting or pooing their pants again

This is especially common if something new is happening, such as a new baby in the house. It is normal and the right time will come, but if it does happen: 

➲ Try to understand what caused it.

➲ Change your child in a calm manner and avoid telling them off or punishing them.

➲ Remind your child to go to the toilet, as some busy children forget.

➲ Praise them when they go to the toilet.

➲ Introduce fun things for when they use the toilet, like being allowed to choose the toilet paper at the shops or a star or sticker chart.

➲ They may need to go back into nappies for a while.

Setbacks and accidents when toilet training

Your child has only just developed the amazing physical ability to manage this body process. As a grown-up, you might not remember, but this takes a while to get right. You can expect accidents and setbacks – these are all just part of the process.

If your child gets upset because of an accident, reassure him that it doesn’t really matter and there’s no need to worry.

To help avoid accidents: 

➽Pay attention to your child if she says she needs the toilet straight away. She might be right!

➽If you’re sure your child hasn’t done a poo or wee in a while, remind him that he might need to go. He might get so caught up in what he’s doing that he doesn’t realize he needs to go until it’s too late. 

➽Check if your child wants to go to the toilet during a long playtime or before an outing. If she doesn’t want to go, that’s fine.

➽Try to make sure the potty or toilet is always easy to get to and use.

➽Ask your child to wee just before going to bed.

Try to stay calm if toilet training seems to take longer than you expect. Stay positive about your child’s achievements, because he’ll get there eventually. Too much tension or stress can lead to negative feelings and might result in your child avoiding going to the toilet.

Health problems

You’re probably well tuned in to how your child is feeling and how regular she is. But it’s still worth keeping an eye out for possible problems connected with toilet training. 

Signs to look for include: 

⏩a big increase or decrease in the number of poos or wees

⏩poos that are very hard to pass

⏩unformed or very watery poos

⏩blood in the poo or wee (sometimes appears as cloudy wee)

⏩pain when your child goes to the toilet.

If you feel there might be a problem or you’re worried about how your child is adapting to toilet training, check with your doctor or child and family health nurse.

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