One of the big milestones for babies and toddlers is starting toilet training. It’s a sign that they’re growing up and changing from a baby that needs help with everything to a toddler who wants to do everything themself. But how do you make sure that you help to make toilet training successful for your little one? We take a look at the things that will help you to help your child transition out of nappies.
Look for Signs that Your Child is Ready
While some children may show signs of being ready for toilet training at 18 months, the average age is around two years. Some of the signs you should look for are dry nappies for up to two hours, regular, formed bowel movements, that your child knows about going to the toilet and they can pull their pants up and down.
What Equipment will You Need?
Whether you choose to use a potty or progress straight to using a toilet will be dependent on you and your child. However, bear in mind that a potty can be moved around, and many little ones prefer to start with a potty.
If you do decide to use the toilet, you’ll need a footstool or step to make it easier to reach and a toddler training seat that fits inside the normal toilet seat.
You may also want to change from nappies (at least during the day) to training pants and pull-ups. Not only will they make your child feel more grown-up, but they’ll catch any ‘accidents’. Letting your child choose some underpants too is a positive step forwards.
Preparing Your Child
Before you start toilet training, you may want to teach your child some words to use when they want to go to the toilet. You may also want to put them in training pants a couple of times a day so that they begin to recognise the feeling of wetness.
The best time to start potty training is when there are no big changes planned, such as a holiday, a house move, or a new baby. Start to create a routine, for example encouraging your child to use the potty when they first get up and before and after meals and snacks. If you see your child wriggling, going quiet or looking to hide, encourage them to use the potty. It’s also a good idea to ask your child if they need the potty when you change activities or before you go out.
However, never force them to use the potty or leave them sitting there for more than 3-5 minutes if they haven’t done anything.
Give Plenty of Praise and Encouragement
Start the process with plenty of praise and encouragement – even if they don’t produce anything, praise them for just sitting on the potty or toilet. Gradually this praise can be reduced as they start to become more familiar and comfortable with the routine. You may want to consider introducing a reward system such as a toilet training chart to celebrate your child’s potty-training achievements.
A Few Extra Tips
Make it easier for your child to get used to toilet training by dressing them in pull-ups, training pants or underpants, as appropriate, during the day, only putting them back in nappies at night and during daytime naps. Dressing your child in clothes that are easy to take off such as elastic-waisted pants or even in just underpants can help to avoid accidents due to not being able to remove their clothes quickly enough.
The Bottom Line
Remember that every child is different and toilet training can take days, weeks or even months. Be patient, keep encouraging your child and keep the routine. Before you know it, they’ll be dry during the day.