Potty training your toddler ideally begins at an age of two or three years. It is not necessary to rush the process however it is good to start as soon as you and your child feel ready.
This guide will help you make the transition from the diaper to the potty seat easy and enjoyable.
What signs should you look for to know that your toddler is ready for potty training?
As your child grows, her bladder movements become fewer (compared to earlier days). For example, she may get up dry. There may be an interval of 1-2 hours without peeing.
The toddler also begins to show signs of a pattern. They may have a bowel movement in the morning or after their breakfast or before going to bed or immediately after drinking lots of water or other liquids.
Some parents can recognize facial expressions when their child is about to poop or pee. The child may grow quite and still. They may let out certain sounds or inflate her nostrils.
Vocalization also begins to happen among some kids. Children might tell you, in their own language that she is “doing the thing”.
Remember that it is unrealistic to strike up a rhythmic communication – both verbal and non-verbal – and it may take a few weeks, or even a few months to transition and reach a reciprocal understanding
Once you know your child is ready for toilet training, both of you can embark upon the adventure.
Kickstarting the toilet training process for your toddler
Now that your kid is ready to start the potty training here are a few things to do.
Dressing for the occasion
You’re going to get just a few seconds or at the most a minute between the signs of the impending event and reaching the toilet seat. You don’t want to waste time removing multiple layers of clothing or untangling the string of the pyjama.
In fact, during the days of potty training, it is better to wear loose clothes that can be easily removed, lowered, or raised. Sometimes, you may have to initiate the process of removing the clothes while you are rushing towards the toilet seat.
Accidents will happen. This is totally fine. But it’s better to use easily removable clothes for the potty-training period. It will be an icing on the cake if your child can lower their own pants and sit on the potty.
Pick the right potty seat for training
There is a wide range of potty seat options these days. You can go with the potty seat that can be fitted upon the family toilet seat but that may pose a logistical problem for your child.
You can have an independent potty seat with all the bells and whistles to keep your child entertained and engaged and make the entire process enjoyable. Another benefit of having an independent potty seat is that you can place it nearby.
If the potty seat is within reach it can be immediately accessed. But the only problem is when you are toilet training your child, a big part of the training is teaching your child that pooping and peeing has a designated spot in the house. They cannot be carried out at any place.
Hence, it is better that the potty seat is placed in the bathroom. This will also help your child learn to control their bowels until they have reached the potty seat and lowered their undies.
The potty seat must be comfortable. If you’re getting a seat that you’re going to fit upon the family toilet seat, make sure that there is no scope of falling off or falling in.
When toilet training, communication between you and your toddler must be clear.
When your child is sitting on the potty seat, they must realize the purpose of sitting there. It is not the usual seat. It is for accomplishing a particular task.
If they have developed specific vocabulary around pooping and peeing, then use that vocabulary when they are sitting on the toilet seat.
In case your child accidentally relieves themselves somewhere else, point it out to them that they should have done that on the potty seat instead. Don’t make them feel guilty. It would be beneficial to develop some sort of story or rhyme to accompany potty time.
The main stress is that when they are sitting on the toilet seat or when they are in the process of going towards the toilet seat, they must have a clear idea of what is to be achieved.
Observe patterns and set alarms
Every child has a potty pattern. If they poop within 1-2 hours of getting up in the morning you can make them sit on the potty seat during that time. Tell them why they are sitting there. Although you should focus on the task, keep them engaged in some manner.
If they don’t want to be left alone, don’t leave them sitting on the potty seat alone. Be there with them.
In the beginning, they may get cautious and not relieve themselves on their potty, and then immediately after you have gotten them off the seat, they may relieve themselves.
This happens with most kids. Don’t get upset. Stick to the alarm. Gradually, their body clock will automatically adjust. Their body will learn that the process of sitting on the toilet seat means they have to poop or pee.
Get them out of the crib so that they can go to the bathroom on their own
Ultimately, the entire purpose of toilet training is for children to begin to go to the bathroom on their own, do the job, clean themselves, and get back to what they were doing.
If you keep your child in their crib or within a playpen, it will be difficult for them to get out if they need to use their potty. Hence, getting children into a normal bed and starting toilet training are interrelated.
They should be able to get out of their bed and go to the toilet on their own. This will make them independent and will also help them learn that the potty seat is the only place where the bowel movement happens.
For a small kid, it can be a momentous occasion when they relieve themselves on the toilet seat. They will seek recognition from you. It will help the process immensely if you reward and praise this behavior that you want them to repeat.
Many parents boast that they potty trained their kids during a weekend.
Yes, with some parents and kids, such things happen just like that, even within a day, but for most children, the transition period may last for a week or a couple of weeks, or even months. This is natural.
Don’t be too hard on your child. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Ultimately, every child wants to do the right thing. When the right time comes, they will start using it on their own more frequently and consistently. You just have to gently steer them towards that goal.