Toilet training your toddler is one of the first big milestones of parenting. It can be a daunting task, but with a little patience and the right approach, you can make it a fun and positive experience for both you and your child.
When to start toilet training
The timing on when to train your child varies from family to family, and there is no one right answer. You may want to wait until your child is physically ready, which is typically around 18 months old. You may also want to start sooner if your toddler shows curiosity in using the toilet or potty chair, based on their bladder control and bowel movements.
Toilet training 18-month-olds
As toilet training usually happens at this age, this is often a good time to start. Toilet training at 18 months of age can be done in a lot of ways, and the key is to find what works best for your child.
Communicating verbally can be the best way to get your point across to your 18-month-old. They are likely starting to understand more words and phrases, so using simple language when talking about the toilet will help them understand what you are saying. You can also act it out, to help explain the process.
Toilet training 3-year-olds
Training your child this late may be more difficult, as they may have developed habits such as peeing in their nappy or potty chair. Toilet training a child who is resistant to the idea may require more patience and need extra time.
When in public, always take your child to the restroom with you. This will give them a chance to see how it is done and make them more comfortable with the idea of using the toilet themselves. At home, start by having your child sit on the toilet for short periods of time, even if they don’t need to go.
Communicating at this age is still important, but you may need to be a bit more authority in your language. Explain that it is time to start using the toilet and that they need to listen to you. If your child is having a hard time understanding or cooperating, consider seeking professional help. A therapist or counsellor can provide guidance on how to best communicate with and train your child.
How to start toilet training
Ways may vary for each child, so it is best to try different approaches. Toilet training should be started when the child is showing an interest and is physically ready.
Start by choosing the right time
Choosing the exact moment to start toilet training can be difficult. Generally, children are physically ready around 18 months of age, so you may want to wait until that time.
Explain what you’ll be doing and why it’s important
Talk to your child about what you’ll be doing and why it’s important. Use simple language that they will understand. Be clear with your speech and avoid using big words or phrases. Use speech that they can understand. If your child is on the younger side, you may want to use books or videos to help explain the process.
Show your child how to use the toilet
Be an example for your child and show them how to use the toilet. You may also show them how other things in the toilet work like the flush and toilet seats. If you are going to the restroom, take your child with you. They will be able to see how it is done and will become more comfortable using the restroom by themselves.
Let them try it out a few times on their own
Observe them while they are trying it out on their own to see how they are doing. There will be sloppy attempts and accidents, but that is all part of the learning process. Avoid scolding or punishing your child if they have an accident. This will only make them more resistant to trying again in the future.
Be generous with your praise and rewards when they are successful. This will encourage them to keep trying. You can give them verbal praise, a hug, or a small treat.
Consistency is key when toilet training your child. You will need to be patient and dedicate a lot of time to it. Toilet training can be one of the most stressful times in parenting, but don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than you thought. Make it a daily routine.
How long does toilet training take
The duration is different for each child, but it typically takes around three to six months. Training can be a long and stressful process for both you and your child, but be patient even when there are setbacks.
Don’t get discouraged and don’t let your child feel it during potty training. Just remember to keep a positive attitude. The process will take time, but eventually, your toddler will get the hang of it.
Toilet training signs
Your toddler will show signs when they are ready to start toilet training. They may start to ask questions or show common signs such as verbal cues saying they need to go or physical cues such as squatting down. Others may start to imitate your actions when you use the bathroom.
Wet and dry nappy
A child’s nappy may indicate when they need to go to the toilet. If it’s already wet, then they may need to go to the bathroom right away. If it’s dry, there may be a possibility that they are just holding it in. This is when you communicate with your child and ask them about going to the bathroom. If they are having accidents, then they may not be ready yet and you should wait a little longer.
Curious about toilet activities of others
Siblings and peers can be a big influence during toilet training. If they see someone else using the toilet, they may want to try it on their own. This is a sign that they are ready to start. But if they seem scared or unsure, then it’s best not to force them and just wait a little longer.
Uncomfortable after playing
After running around or playing, they may need to go to the bathroom. This is because their bladder can get full quickly when they are active. You can use this opportunity to see if they’re ready to start toilet training.
Toilet training tips
Start with a potty chair
A potty chair will train your child how to sit on the toilet. It’s a smaller version of an adult toilet and it’s easier for them to use. You can place the potty chair in the bathroom so they can get used to the idea of using the toilet. You could also fit a potty seat to make them comfortable.
Look for the right timing
Choose instances during the day or night when your toddler is likely to need the toilet. This could be after naps, meals, or before and after playtime.
By making your child use the bathroom before sleeping, you can get them into a routine. This is a good moment to start toilet training your toddler. You can explain to them that this will help them avoid accidents and wet beds while they sleep.
Right after waking up
In the mornings, take your child to the bathroom right after they wake up. This can also include afternoon naps. This will help them get into a routine and can help with their toilet training.
Teach them proper hygiene
Let your children clean themselves after using the bathroom. This will teach them proper personal hygiene, prevent possible health issues, and help them become more independent. Teach them to flush the bowl and clean their hands afterward.
Don’t give up if there are setbacks
It can be messy and there will be accidents but just remember to be patient and keep up the good work. The toilet-training process can be a long one, but eventually, your child will get the hang of it. Just hang on with your regular potty schedule.
Use positive reinforcement
Praise will help encourage your child to keep using the toilet. You can also use a sticker chart to help them see their progress. This will motivate them to keep going and be consistent.
Let your child make the first move!
Just remember, be patient with your child as you start toilet training them. It can be a daunting task, especially for new parents, and some tools will work while some won’t. Every child is different, so let them explore and they might even start talking about it with you.