Toilet Training your toddler

Sleepless nights – no longer. Teething – a thing of the past. Next challenge – Toilet Training!

Toilet training can be frustrating, messy, and exhausting but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. First things first, is your child ready? Most children start to show signs from about 2 years and some might not be ready till much later.

Signs your little one is ready

  • They can walk unassisted. Independent – can pull his pants up and down
  • Shows interest when other family members go to the toilet, may ask questions.

This might make you uncomfortable but it’s a great way to openly discuss the process of going to the toilet, such as pulling pants down, sitting on the toilet, wiping, dressing and washing hands. Remember kids love repetition, so keep showing the actions and get them to practice even if they are still in their nappies.

  • Has dry nappies for longer periods of time or waking from day naps
  • Conveys he has done a wee or poo, especially if it is before it happens
  • May pull at or remove the nappy, especially after its been soiled

Remember, not all signs need to be present to start the conversations or to know your child is ready.

 What do you need to get started?

  • Lots of underwear
  • A potty or toilet insert – let them choose the one they want
  • A stool to help them get on the toilet
  • And a mop for the inevitable accidents

When to start?

  • Try in the warmer months
  • When there are minimal disruptions in their lives (e.g. not moving house, changing childcare centres, expecting a little brother or sister)
  • Make sure you have the time to be consistent, give them the attention they need and spend the weekend at home, so everyone is less anxious about a possible accident 

Tips to get started

  • When your child is ready, let them eat and drink as normal, but take them to the potty or toilet every 15 minutes. On the first two days, have a morning and afternoon session where you consistently do this for 2 hours. If they have an accident in this time, its ok. Be positive, praise them for trying. Do not get upset or scold them as this can have a negative impact on the process, making them want to revert to nappies and refuse to go at all.

  • On the third day, try for a full day with trips to the toilet every 20 minutes. You can let your child roam the house in just a t-shirt or naked and when they feel the urge get excited that they are doing a wee or a poo, look at what’s in the toilet and congratulate them for going. Make up a toilet song, make flushing a big deal and let them be as independent as possible when it comes to re-dressing themselves, flushing, washing and wiping their hands.

    childcare blog toilet

  • You’re doing great, keep at it! On the fourth day if they are doing well with minimal accidents, try having a longer break in between and so on.

  • Rewards charts with stickers, stamps or a single M&M’s for a successful trip to the toilet can have a positive impact. All this positive attention for having accident free sessions or days, will build their self-esteem. Accidents do happen however, so don’t’ go overboard or they can get deflated if they do have an accident.

  • Be proactive and let the teachers know at childcare that you have started toilet training and how he is going, what you are using for rewards and ask them to be consistent in their approach also. Try going a little earlier in the mornings and take your child to the bathroom to start his day off right. And let the teachers know that he may need reminding every 30-40 minutes in the beginning. Pack multiple pairs of extra clothing and shoes in case of accidents.

  • Don’t be in a rush to teach a little boy how to pee standing. They will master that skill in time, the focus should be to make it to the bathroom without puddles along the way.

  • When it comes to wiping, teach to wipe front to back to prevent urinary tract infections.

  • Always carry extra undies and wipes in your handbag if you are out and about, and remember they need to go regularly so make sure you know where the restrooms are.

  • About an hour before bedtime limit drinks to help them stay dry at night. Night time training usually takes a little longer to master even if they are doing great during the day. During nap times, make sure they try sitting on the toilet and getting used to the habit of going before rest time. At night, you can use night nappies, which allows the child to feel a little wet, which may prompt them to go. However, starting and mastering day toileting and then night, is okay too.
 Common Set backs

  • Won’t poo in the toilet
  • Frequent accidents
  • Scared of the toilet
  • Constipation

If this is the case, your little one may simply not be ready. Praise them for giving it a go and try again in a couple of months.

Don’t stress! Toilet training takes time. If you are feeling anxious or stressed, your child will feed off that energy. Try to stay relaxed and upbeat. Toileting is not a reflection of your parenting.