Becoming toilet trained and using a potty or toilet is a new skill for your child to learn. Many parents and children encounter difficulties during the process of toilet training; a good time to start is when the child starts to display signs of readiness and when they want to be clean and dry.
Each child is an individual and will do this at their own pace and time. Please try to be calm and patient with your child when they are learning this new skill. Day time toilet training is achievable between 2 and 3 years of age but it can sometimes be later around aged 4 most children are reliably dry during the day. It can take longer for a child to stay dry at night.
Your child will be able to control their bowels before their bladder;
- 1st bowel control at night
- Next bowel control during the day
- Then bladder control during the day
- Finally, bladder control at night.
It is good to get prepared and gradually introduce the potty at nappy changes and talk about what a wet and soiled nappy means. Explain in simple language what a potty is for and leave it somewhere your child can easily see. Allow your child to see you on the toilet and talk about what you are doing. Toys can also help as a visual to help with your explanation. See if you child would be happy to sit on the potty for a little while either when changing their nappy or dressing or undressing.
Start at a time when it is calm environment at home, however only after you have observed your child showing an awareness of becoming toilet aware. It is best to avoid times of change for example moving to a new house or illness or a new baby. It is important to stay consistent in your approach so that you do not confuse your child and pick a period when you have lots of time.
Signs to look out for
- Dry nappy after a reasonable length of time
- They indicate that they have done a wee or poo in their nappy
- They may use words which describe what they have done
- They may display signs that they need to pass urine or open their bowels
Place to potty in the bathroom or warm accessible room for the child, you may need more than one potty. It is also a good idea to take a potty out with you when out of the home. Establish a routine that is suitable with family life and keep to this. Encourage your child to sit on the potty at first every hour and then if the child is dry slowly increase until you reach 2/3 hours.
Ensure that your child is wearing clothing which can be easily removed by them or if appropriate leave without clothing from the waist down. Initially you child may give you little warning that they need to go to the toilet. When your child sits on the potty give them lots of praise and encouragement which will help them to feel positive and happy about learning this new skill.
Use nappies for daytime sleep or going out of the house. Encourage your child to drink but avoid fizzy drinks, squash and tea as this may make them pee more frequently.
It may be easier to start toilet training in the summer months to reduce your stress and allow for easier cleaning of clothes when they have an inevitable accident. It is important to let you child set their own pace.
Once your child sits on the potty regularly and happily, encourages them to ask for the potty and introduce pants and trousers. Ask your child often if they need a wee and give continuous praise and encouragement.
Your child may not be dry at night for up to 12 months after they are dry during the day. Once they have a dry nappy for a few nights then putting on some plastic sheets on to the bed and allow them to sleep without a nappy at night.
Some children may prefer to use the toilet rather than a potty and you can find trainer seats which clip on to the toilet and a small step will help them to get in to an ideal position for passing a bowel motion.