Diapers are convenient for the parent and comforting for the child. Yet, they can’t be used indefinitely. Toilet training is an inevitable part of parental responsibility. If it is not approached correctly, it can be a stressful experience for both parent and toddler. Here are some tips on potty training your toddler.
Establish a routine
Set a pattern for ‘potty time.’ You don’t have to wait till the toddler stage, you can begin toilet training once the child is old enough to sit. The most logical time for passing motion is after the first big feed of the day. Set her on the potty after the meal, and keep her engaged with a toy or song till she has a bowel movement. Soon, she will associate the potty with poop, and do what is required.
Keep your eyes open
Most children show physical signs before they pass urine or motion. Some will dilate their nostrils, others will frown or clutch their tummies. Observe your child to pick up these signals. As soon as you notice the tell-tale signs during the day, set him on the potty immediately. Praise him lavishly when he gets it right. He’ll be happy to do it again.
Get the wording right
As your baby grows into a toddler, you will want her to tell you when she needs a restroom visit. To make that possible, she will have to understand what needs to be conveyed. Use specific words every time she passes urine or motion, so that she associates those words with what is happening to her body. Then ask her every now and then, throughout the day, whether she wants to ‘go’, using those words. Encourage her to say those words herself.
Get the equipment right
Choose a comfortable potty, rather than an attractive one. The child should not mistake it for a play area, nor dislike using it because it hurts him in some way. You can also consider using inserts or special toilet seats which allow a child to be seated comfortably on a conventional commode. Some children like this better, because they feel they’re ‘grown up’.
Have a routine for the night
Night-time potty training may take longer. As a practical step, don’t give your toddler a liquid feed before bedtime. Put him on the potty once in the night, even if he isn’t properly awake. And watch for disturbed sleep – it could mean that a restroom visit is needed.
Encourage self help
As the child gains motor skills, teach her how to pull down her underwear before sitting on the potty, and pull it up again by herself along with the other potty training tips. Teach her also how to flush and train her to wash her hands after using the toilet.
Praise and patience are key words for successful and smooth toilet training. Every time a child conveys a restroom need, praise him. Every morning he wakes up dry, praise him. But remember, accidents happen, often. And consistency cannot be taken for granted. Do not scold or punish him in such cases, it will only set him back. Be patient. Both you and the child will get there!