Toilet training is a skill you will want to introduce patiently and at the right time.
As parents it is important to know that a child has to understand the process of going to the toilet.
Is your child ready for toilet training??
Does your child:
- Stay dry for 2 hours or more?
- Have a general time when he/she does a bowel movement.
- Understand and follow basic instructions such as ‘come here’, ‘sit down’
- Sit in a chair for 5 minutes or more
- Show an awareness of having just urinated or done a bowel motion (BM) by changing facial expression, making different sound, crossing legs, quietness, irritability, squirming, hiding etc..
If your child cannot yet follow simple directions or sit for 5 minutes you should concentrate on teaching these skills first.
Remember no one else can train your child (of course they can help), it is an around the clock task and you need to be very consistent and persistent in your approach. Toilet training is a slow and gradual process with a number of set backs – so be patient.
This is important to establish a pattern so you know the best times to take your child to the toilet.
- Check your child first thing in the morning – is he/she dry, wet or soiled the nappy?
- Continue to check every hour until bed time
- Write down each time whether it is wet, dry or soiled
- Change your child if he/she is wet or soiled. Frequent changes means your child gets used to being clean and dry.
Once you have kept a record of when your child eliminates you may notice the pattern. For most children there will be some pattern for a BM (poo). There should be several times during the day that BMs are most likely to happen. So you can take your child to the toilet at these times to try and catch it.
When is the best time?
This depends on how ready your child is, when you have the energy and commitment and the weather. Summer is the best time to toilet train as your child can run around with undies on and not get cold. Undies are good because you and your child can both see/feel when they are wet. They can be changed easily. You can also use them as a prompt. Eg. Bob the Builder undies – ‘Bob doesn’t like to be wet’ or ‘you shouldn’t wee on Maisy’.
Nappies or not?
Nappies or pull ups keep your child feeling dry so they don’t get the sensation of feeling wet and uncomfortable. If you are just getting your child to sit on the toilet, then keep with the nappies, if you think your child has some awareness and can sit for 5 minutes try the undies. Stick with a night nappy until day training is really mastered.
Toilet or potty?
Your child needs to feel safe and secure. A stool, handrail, child insert all help to make the family toilet more accessable. A potty is handy because it can move with your child. Some children learn to use the potty then need to relearn to use the toilet. Work out what suits you and your child. Make sure their feet are supported and they are well balanced. Some children are frightened of the toilet – splashes, flushing noise or fear of falling in.
Do not flush the toilet while your child is one it!
What is the routine?
- Set regular and frequent times when you will take your child to the toilet, not less than 90 minutes – every two hours from waking is standard. Have a sign or key word that you use.
- At first you should just get your child to sit on the toilet for a short time. Immediately praise him/her and give a small treat eg. Sultana, sticker etc. (this is a special treat that is highly motivating to your child and one they can only get for toileting – have it close by so you can reward immediately). Gradually increase the time you expect them to sit before rewarding.
- Once your child is happy to sit on the toilet have your child sit for 5 minutes (or until he/she eliminates) and then give a reward.
- In time your child will not need the reward to sit, so keep it for when he/she eliminates. Use lots of praise and talk about what they have done or should be doing.
- Learn to recognize your child’s signs of needing to go and take them quickly!
- Be prepared for accidents and clean up without fuss (some children like the attention of being told off!).
- Keep your reminders positive
- Change your child in the bathroom if possible – get your child to help put the poo in the toilet then ist on the toilet so they connect the actions. ‘Look that’s where your poo goes’. If wet just get your child to sit and remind them their wee goes in the toilet.
- Get them to watch others use the toilet (mum, dad, siblings etc..) they may learn from this modeling.
- Use picture symbols (story) to prompt your child
- Eventually phase yourself out of the bathroom
Suppliers of smaller undies that might suit smaller ex prems.
- Big W – bonds brand
- Best and Less – training pants (if they still stock them)
- Cheaper discount stores that have XS sized undies
What can a completely toilet trained child do?
- Recognize when he/she needs to go
- Wait to eliminate / hold on
- Go in to the bathroom
- Pull down pants
- Sit on toilet
- Eliminate on toilet
- Use paper correctly
- Pull up pants
- Flush toilet
- Wash hands
- Dry hands