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 the 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. 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’.

Teaching boys vs. girls

When toilet training boys, teach them:

Tidying up

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.