Teaching a toddler to use the toilet can be a stressful experience for the parents as well as the child. There are so many questions. When should I start? Which are better, potties or toilet training seats? How long will it take?
There is a lot of advice out there, and it can be hard to sort out the good advice from the bad. Friends or family members may tell you how easy it was, or how difficult. But every child is different. And this leads to the first rule of potty training. However much you wish it weren’t the case, your child is in charge. It’s their bottom, and there’s nothing you can do to change that! You may feel under pressure to train in preparation for nursery, or perhaps your child’s peers are all out of nappies. But rushing the process will only cause stress for all concerned. You cannot toilet train a child who doesn’t know when they need the toilet. Signs your child is ready to use the potty or toilet include:
- grabbing trousers before weeing
- hiding before doing a poo
- showing interest in using the toilet
- being dry for long periods through the day
Once you think your child is ready, you can start to prepare. Make sure you are able to talk to your child about toilets, wees and poos. If you are embarrassed to talk about it then your child is not going to feel comfortable asking to use the toilet. Your child may wish to watch you use the loo and ask you questions. Get your child involved in the preparation, let them pick their own underwear and and help you buy toilet seats. Even if you start with a potty, your child will move up to toilet training seats eventually.
Toilet training is easier in the summer, when a child will be wearing fewer clothes (drying the inevitable laundry will also be easier). You should avoid any big life events, such as moving to a new house or the birth of a new sibling, as these will be stressful times for your child.
Once your child is ready, and the toilet training seat is fitted, let them sit on it. They may go at once, or just get used to the feeling. Then comes the difficult part. Your child will have accidents, even after a period of success. Don’t get upset at the accidents, this will make your child fearful of the process. On the other hand, successes should be rewarded with a hug or high five – it’s an achievement for your child but a huge celebration may put further pressure on them. Some children become scared of the sound of the flush and think they might be flushes away! Toilet training seats can alleviate this fear.
Toilet training is a long process, but as long as there are no health issues, your child will get there. Good luck!