(The following information was taken directly from our Earn While You Learn resources.)
Toilet training is really toilet learning. Training is not the issue. The accomplishment of the task is up to the child. How do you know if your child is ready to start learning? The typical age range for beginning to learn is around age 2. However, every child is different and it may take less or more time until they are ready. What are some signs that your child may be ready?
A few signs that your child may be ready are:
- Holding bowel movements and urine for a longer period of time.
- Hates having a dirty diaper
- Follows and understand basic instructions
- Curiosity about toilet, potty chair, or wearing underwear
- Can pull pants up and down without any help
- Grunting or signaling that they know what they are doing.
- Understanding what people are asking of them, responding with a clear yes or no.
As a parent you need to respond to your child’s learning with interest, support, patience, and assistance, not pressure. Letting your child choose their own timing is so important!
If you think you child is ready you will need the following:
- Potty chair
- Plastic training pants or pull-ups
- Stool to reach the toilet seat once the potty chair is no longer needed
Place the potty chair on the floor next to your toilet. Wait for your child to go along with you to the bathroom. Let them decide on their own to sit on the potty. If they do not eventually sit on their own, then place them on their chair. At this stage it is OK to allow the child to sit on the chair with clothing on to sit or read if they want. Now is the time to discuss talking about using the toilet and what is going on in their bodies. Routines are encouraged to get children comfortable with using the potty. After a few successful potty breaks, remove their diaper and allow them to run around without them. Continue your potty routine without diapers for several months. Try to have your child use the potty right before you leave the house to prevent accidents. Try to keep trips short and bring your potty chair with you. It is also a good idea to bring spare clothes in case of an accident. During toilet learning time, it is best to use pull-ups during nap time and overnight until the child has mastered the toilet. (Plastic mattress protectors are also a wise investment during this stage.)
You may need to stop toilet training if you notice that it is not going well. If your child refuses to use the potty or is having lots of accidents, they might not be quite ready to use the potty yet. Take a break and try again in a few month. There are times when it is best to not begin toilet training your child. It is important to select a time to begin when you are in a stable environment. A child can sense when you are under high stress and this can affect the outcome of toilet training.
Times of high stress include:
- Starting a new job
- A new baby
- Relationship difficulties
- Recently moved
- Death in the family
- New child care or baby-sitter
It is much better for both you and your child to be comfortable when it comes to toilet training! If you are interested in learning more or would like advice, we are here to help! Our classes offer helpful advice and tips for you and your child during this important milestone.