Does just the mere thought of toilet training your son or daughter fill you with dread? Are you being pressurised into training them early because, ‘ you were dry day and night by two.’ ? Honestly, you are far better waiting until they are ready, it will be so much more less stressful for yourself and for you son or daughter. Also, and this is from personal experience, boys and girls are different! My son, for example was not dry in the day until he was over three years old, but he has never wet the bed and my daughter on the other hand, is only two and starting to show signs of wanting to use the potty (we’ve not actually managed a wee in it yet though!)
Before you even think about starting, your son or daughter needs to be ready. They cannot be rushed. What does it matter if your son or daughter is the last one on your street to be dry? It is not a race! Toilet training is not something to be dictated by age but by their own body. There are lots of complex muscles involved in the body to do with toileting – your child needs to recognise the pressure sensation of when he or she needs to go and then they need to understand that the response is to go to the potty. You can lead them to the toilet all you like but you cannot force them to go for a wee!
Some good signs to recognise when your son or daughter might be ready to start toilet training are as follows:
When he or she starts to let you know that their nappy is wet or dirty
When he or she tells you that they need a wee or a poo
When they perhaps go through the night or a while in the day with a dry nappy
Going shopping for a big girl or boy potty and big girl or boy pants is a good way of getting your child excited about starting. I also would recommend you buy pants with their favorite characters on – my son in particular would not ‘wet’ his Thomas the Tank Engine pants as he was so happy to be wearing them! Also, have some sort or reward at the ready for when they actually use their new potty – stickers are good here! After my son had a day completely dry, we would let him choose a little toy or book from supermarket as an incentive to do it again.
Being ready yourself is very important too. The toilet training process needs to be a positive experience for both you and your child, not a challenging and stressful time. Try and potty train when your life is running smoothly, don’t try when you’re about to move house or have another baby. It is very important that you try and find a time to do it when you are at home for a week or so. I realise this is difficult! Particularly if you work or have to go on the school run for older children.
When you first start to potty train your child, it is advisable to ask them every twenty minutes or so if they need a wee and to sit on the potty. The trick is to catch them when they need to go, so they can understand the link between needing to go and going in the potty. There will be multiple accidents, of course there will be, but please don’t get cross or angry. For starters, it is not the child’s fault! Perhaps they are not ready yet or were just too involved in what they were doing to make time to go. Remember they have been used to just going wherever and whenever in their nappy and now you are changing the rules! It is important to keep encouraging them and not to let it get you down – they will get there!
When they first wee on the potty praise them heavily. Make a real big fuss about it and get other relatives to praise them too. When they have been using the potty for a few days, you may begin to notice a pattern of when they need to go, then you can adjust when you need to remind them.
Just remember to stay calm and positive and no matter what age your child is when they are finally dry, they will get there in the end! Each child is different there is no use in comparing them to another child, even their own sibling. So, good luck!