Toilet training your child: When is the right time to start?
When it comes to toilet training your little one, patience is the name of the game. Many parents have found that the process becomes a lot easier when they wait for the child to show signs of readiness first before starting the process.
Here are some signs that might indicate your child is ready to be toilet trained:
- Your child has shown an interest in learning to use the toilet and wanting to be more independent
- They have started walking and can sit independently for short periods
- They can verbalize and understand words about using the toilet, for example, they might say they need to go pee-pee, that they have a dirty diaper, or they might show gestures when they want to pee or poop
- Your child has started to dislike wearing a nappy/diaper
- They can make the connection between having the urge to go and using the toilet
- They can follow simple instructions and can copy behavior such as bathroom habits
- Your child can keep a dry diaper or nappy for up to 2 hours
- They can go to the potty and stay on long enough to pee or poop before getting off the potty
- Your child can pull their pants up or down
- When both you as the parent and your child are ready for the routine changes
If your child shows most of these signs, consider starting to toilet train them.
How to start to toilet train your child: tips and tricks
1. Watch and learn
Pay close attention and try to learn when your child wets or soils their nappy or diaper. Try to identify the cues that they make before they go, for example, if they make a special sound or if they have a particular body language before peeing or pooping. Also, notice the pattern and timing of when they have to go. For example, does your child have to poop right after a meal? Record all this down.
2. Be consistent
Consistency is key when toilet training your child. Set a routine and try to stick to it as consistently as possible. Try to tie your routine with their already-existing bathroom habits. For example, if they usually poop after every meal, try to build your routine around that. As you do, feed your little one lots of fiber-rich foods and lots of water to avoid constipation and ease the toilet-training process.
3. Stay alert and involved
It may not always be possible for your child to follow the routine you’ve set up every day. Be flexible enough to change things up as needed. You also need to remain observant so that if there are any worrying changes to your child’s bathroom behavior, you will be able to identify them quickly and resolve everything if there are any problems.
4. Enjoy the process
Toilet training is a major milestone in your child’s life. Make it fun and enjoyable for both of you. Be positive and encouraging, and reward small successes. Teach your child cute and funny words or sounds that will make the experience even more engaging for them. And when your child inadvertently misses the toilet, don’t be stressed or frustrated.
Night-time toilet training
Generally, nighttime toilet training is a little more difficult to achieve for kids. Don’t assume that because your child can use the bathroom during the day they’ll be able to keep their bed dry. Most children can stay dry throughout the night only at older ages of between 5 and 7 years old.
For this reason, parents may consider using diapers or nappies only at night, waterproof training pants, a waterproof mattress protector, or a waterproof bedsheet.
As you toilet train your child, remember to take your cues from them. If your child resists the training process, or if they are unable to follow your routine within a few weeks, take a break. Your little one may not be ready for it. Pushing them too hard will not be helpful at all.
If you have been thinking about toilet training your child, the most important thing to remember is that you need to allow your child to let you know when they are ready to start. It is easy to feel pressured by friends and family or to put a deadline on your child and try to force them to be toilet trained by a certain age. Doing it this way can have a reverse effect and make the process needlessly difficult for both you and your child.
With the tips outlined above and a healthy dose of patience, though, your little angel will be potty trained in no time. Good luck!