Time is ticking. Your child is growing so fast and becoming a “big” boy or girl.
There are a lot of things you would miss, but changing soiled diapers would not be top on your list. You honestly can not wait for your toddler to be able to properly use the toilet.
As excited as you might be for your child to master this skill, rushing would do you no good. You need to wait for the right time, and also know the right ways to “potty train” your child.
What Is Potty Training?
Potty training is teaching your child how to use the toilet when he/she wants to poo or pee. It is sometimes called toilet training.
What Is The Normal Age For Potty Training?
Potty training can start when a child is about 18months old. However, your child may start later and not fully master this skill till age 3 or 4.
Signs Your Child Is Ready
Some signs your child is ready for potty training include;
- Indicating with words or gestures (e.g crossing legs or holding the genitals) when he/she wants to pee or poo.
- being able to sit on and stand up from a toilet or potty
- having a desire to please
- imitating adults or siblings
- having longer periods of a dry diaper
- disliking wearing a diaper
- understanding simple instructions
How to Start Potty Training
Your toddler will do what you do. Allow your child watch you use the bathroom. He/She may begin to notice that mommy and daddy use the toilet differently.
This is the time to teach how to use the toilet as a boy or a girl. It is also an opportunity to explain how boys and girls are built differently.
Here are some tips on starting;
- Choose the right time to begin. If you are moving houses, going through a divorce or having another child, introducing a potty might be a big change for your child.
- Buy a child-size potty. You can personalize it with your child’s name or stickers so your child feels like it is his/her own.
- Select a place to put the potty. Some toddlers are afraid of falling into the toilet. Some get scared of hearing the toilet flush. So select a place your child would be comfortable in.
- Have more than one potty available if possible. Put these at different locations that your child can easily access when needed.
- Let your child practice by sitting on the potty dry. Do this for about a week. You could try using a schedule, setting particular times when your child uses the potty.
- If your child has a favourite toy or teddy, include that in your practice sessions. Use the teddy to show your child what you want him/her to do.
- Teach your child proper hygiene. Emphasise the need to wipe, wash hands, and flush the toilet after usage.This should be done from day one.
- Talk with your child regularly. Explain why and how to use the potty. Ask about how he/she feels about it all. Use potty time as a period for bonding.
- Reward your child’s efforts. This will serve as motivation to do better.
Extra Tips for Boys:
- Look for a potty without a urine guard or with a removable one for your son. It could scrape his penis when sitting down on it, causing him discomfort.
- Initally, let your child sit to pee and poo. When he is comfortable with that, he can try standing up.
- Have a male role model if possible. Let your son follow his Dad or Uncle to the toilet and watch them pee standing up. This would make him more open to trying it.
- Add some elements of fun. Try putting some O-shaped cereal in the potty that he can use to practice his aim.
- The learning process is going to be messy. Expect to clean up a lot of “stray” pee and poo.
Extra Tips For Girls;
- Teach her to wipe the right way; from front to back. This will prevent her from getting infections.
- Let your daughter watch you pee. This would help her see that sitting on the toilet is normal.
Learning to use the toilet is a major achievement. Getting past the stage of changing diapers would no doubt be a relief. Family and friends would be of great help.
Also, ask your doctor for advice. Be patient. It might take some time, but your child would get it eventually.
- Darienne Hosley Stewart 2018, Tips For Potty Training Boys, Baby Center, Viewed on June 25, <https://www.babycenter.com/0_tips-for-potty-training-boys_11652.bc>.
- Jude Hough 2019, 5 Mistakes Parents Make When Potty Training, How To Potty Train, Viewed on June 25, < https://www.howtopottytrain.com/advice/5-biggest-mistakes-parents-make-when-potty-training/>.
- Mink Kapferer 2019, How To Potty Train A Girl, Made For Mums, Viewed on June 25, <https://www.madeformums.com/toddler-and-preschool/how-to-potty-train-a-girl/>.
- Stephanie Wood 2020, 6 Potty Training Methods, Parenting, Viewed on June 25, <https://www.parenting.com/toddler/potty-training/potty-training-methods/>.