Consistency, positivity, patience and letting your child set the pace are some of the keys to success
Once you kick things off with toilet training, try and work everything that you and your child do into a routine. This isn’t always so easy, as children’s bladders and bowels don’t always act according to plan! Get a grasp of how many times your child needs to go to the toilet in a day and when, and try to approach toilet training based on what you’ve learned about this behaviour.. Your child might be displaying all the signs of readiness, but it will still take some time before they fully recognise the physical urge to use the bathroom and know that they then need to make their way to the potty.
A consistent routine will build your child’s confidence as they will know exactly what to do, where to go and how to do it. Consistency and repetition helps them feel in control of the situation, and what’s coming up next. We’ve got a few tips here to help you build your toilet training routine.
The 4 Musts
Child development expert, Dr. Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett has 4 musts for toilet training. Keep these in mind and you’re headed for toilet training success!
Let your child set the pace
Trust your child, and let them set the pace. Don’t try to force them to learn too fast. Support them with the encouragement and positive feedback they need.
When accidents do arise, which they inevitably will, say ‘you’ll do better next time’ or ‘don’t worry about the accident, we’ll get it right soon to keep building confidence and encourage those “big kid” feelings.
Avoid mixed signals. Switching back and forth to nappies is confusing to a child. Once you make the switch to training pants, stick with it. Wearing training pants makes your child feel like a ‘big girl’ or ‘big boy’.
There will be accidents! But mistakes are what we learn from. There may be times when your child seems like they are regressing. Don’t get discouraged – this is perfectly normal. Be confident that things will be back on track in no time.
Stop! It’s Potty Time
Successful toilet training occurs when your child can identify the physical urge to use the bathroom. Up until this point, a potty routine is necessary and will help your child get into the swing of things. Try the following schedule at first and then let your child run the show once they get the hang of it. It’s a good idea to take your child to the potty at the following times to help them get into a routine:
- When they wake up
- An hour after a big drink
- Before naps
- After naps
- Before meals
- Before bed
- If they wake up in the middle of the night
Weeing on demand isn’t easy for any of us, so if they’re having trouble getting started, try reading to them while they’re on the potty to help them relax, or run the tap (it’s hard to not want to wee when you hear the sound of running water!). If they really don’t need to go, that’s fine, too. Simply ask them if they need to wee a couple of times before your next scheduled stop.
Squeaky clean: Don’t forget to wipe & wash!
Proper wiping and hand washing is a really important part of the toilet training routine, just as important as the potty visits themselves, so Teaching your child the right hygiene is important.
Wiping: After doing a ‘number two’, like a big kid, teach them that they need to wipe themselves clean, and keep wiping until it comes back clean.
Washing: Show your toddler how to wet their hands, apply soap and rub their hands together for long enough to cover all of their hands, rinse clean, and dry! The more you let them practice themselves, the better they will become at learning this new skill.
Get everyone else on board
It’s not likely that you’ll be around for every moment of your child’s toilet training journey, which is why it’s essential to get all other carers up to speed with the routine. Inform their day care, grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who spends time alone with your toddler.