Is your child ready?
There’s no exact age a child is ready for toilet training. Some are ready at 18 months, others anywhere up to 3 years. It’s just a matter of keeping your eye on things, waiting for when they’re ready and spotting the signs.
Signs of when they’re ready
Are the child’s nappies dryer for longer periods of time? Can they pull their pants up and down? Have you noticed the child expressing themselves in an awkward or unusual way around the toilet, or when they want to go to toilet? Are they curious when it’s your turn to go, and are curious about toilet paper? If these situations start to occur, then it may be time to respond.
How’s your timing?
As this is a new adventure for the two of you, it will probably take longer than you think to toilet train. And, things will tend to occur at the most inconvenient of times. So, if at all possible, try and set as much time as you can aside – without any distractions.
Starting a routine
If you can, try toilet training in the warmer months. That way your child won’t miss what has been keeping their bottom warm all this time. Start inviting your child to sit on the potty for fun. Allow them to get used to its feel, and even invite them to go to the toilet if they feel the urge. Repeat this on a regular basis, without, of course, any pressure to ‘perform’.
Lead by example
When you go to the toilet, invite the child to see exactly what you are doing. Let them know this is how older people, especially ‘big kids’, go to the toilet. Try tearing a few sheets of toilet paper and wiping it on the child’s skin, even sprinkle some water on their arm and show how the toilet paper absorbs it. Keep things easy, fun and as natural as possible – try even waving goodbye to the toilet paper as it’s flushed away.
Teaching boys vs. girls
When toilet training boys, teach them:
Once they understand hand hygiene, let your child also know how polite it is to leave the toilet/bathroom tidy. Advise not to splash water around, to keep the towel tidy.
If at first you don’t succeed…
If your first attempts are disappointing, or it’s a case of two steps forward and then one backwards, don’t worry. To a large degree, it’s all about getting into a routine and leading by example. Make sure you hold back on the pressure, and throw in oodles of support and praise.
Reward the little wins
We all like recognition. Kids especially love it from people they look up to. So, when the little wins occur, acknowledge with praise and verbal support, even applause. Perhaps consider a fridge training chart, with little rewards? Whether stickers or treats, let them know they’re going great. And in time the big victory will come.
And then the child hears: “You’re a big kid now.”
Hooray. You both made it. It’s time to congratulate yourself with something special. And while you’re having some time thinking about your victory, you may give pause to reflect that your baby is now becoming more independent. It’s an amazing time for the both of you. Enjoy the moment and treasure it.