By age 18 to 24 months, your toddler gains motor skills, some speech and, ability to follow simple instructions which are necessary for completing the toilet training process. You may start the training process with full focus after you make sure your toddler is ready and not occupied with learning any other task or undergoing any upheaval in her life such as a recent admission to a playgroup.
To get started,
- Invest in a good training chair or a toilet bowl-shaped device and training pants or shorts, which can be easily pulled down.
- Place the toilet seat near the bathroom and let your child get used to it in the best way possible. You may shift the seat inside the bathroom later, at an appropriate time. After taking note of your child’s pattern of urination and bowel movements, along with their trigger points, select the best time to start your training schedule on a daily basis.
- Similarly, plan the frequency and timing of when you will use training pants and diapers for your child.
- Your training style can be devised in tandem with the needs of your child.
To begin the process,
- Have a daily visit to the toilet seat and urge your toddler to pass urine or stools as the case may be by whatever creative way you can think of. If it takes a long time, keep her occupied with storytelling, but without distracting her from her task. At other times, when your child shows signs of the need to relieve herself or if she has already wet or soiled her pants, take her to the toilet seat and urge her to sit for sometime and complete the job. This forms a strong association between the need to empty her bladder or bowel and the toilet seat to be used for the same.After your child is done, wipe her from front to the back. Teach her to wash her hands after a session at the toilet seat.
- Provide help and guidance to your toddler that encourages self-help and enough practice in using the toilet seat, till she gets mastery at her task. Verbalise and repeat each instruction for each step of learning, till your child has imbibed it. Your patience is the key to her learning.
- Give your child lots of water and plenty of fibre in her diet, to avoid constipation, which poses a roadblock to potty training.
- Your toddler may face certain setbacks and accidents which are a part of the toilet training process. Do not lose heart at this slight deviation, but forge ahead till your child is ready to use the family toilet around age 26 months. Use a step stool if necessary.
- Continue your supervision and help till your child gets used to the new toilet. In the process of potty training, do remember to show your pride and encouragement whenever your child achieves even a small positive step. Your love, undivided attention, and show of affection become her greatest motivating factors.
Sings of a successfully potty-trained toddler
- Your toddler’s training is over when she is able to remove her pants or shorts and is able to get up and down from the toilet seat by herself.
- Your toddler has a dry nappy for two hours at a time, no bowel movement at night and has a dry nappy after her afternoon nap.
- You may have your toddler wear a diaper for a few nights after you stop the daytime training till you are sure of her control over her bladder and bowel at night as well.
Toilet training should begin when your child is developmentally ready for it. Your love planned inputs and constant supervision will promote her self-help skills until she graduates from a toilet training device to independent use of the family toilet. Don’t forget to share your stories on toilet training of toddlers.