The Ultimate Guide to Toilet Training your Kid
Toilet training (potty training) is one key step in your child’s development. It is a skill like any other that they need to learn. It's not that different from sleeping, walking or talking. In this article I will go through the main questions that may pop in your head when you are planning your child’s toilet training.
When to start toilet training?
When your child is ready. You need to observe your child closely. They need to be physically and mentally ready. You may consider the weather as well, since the less layers your child is wearing, the easier it is to change and there is less washing to do as well.
How long does it take?
If done on the right time it could take 1 to 2 weeks for your child to be accidents free and to tell you when they need to do a wee or a poo. However, realistically, you can expect the occasional accident for months after. It could take longer to be accident free outside home, as it takes more time for a child to get used to going to public bathrooms.
How to know your child is ready?
Your child needs to be physically and mentally ready. By physically I mean your child can stand, walk and sit down. Before this stage your child will be more focused on learning how to use their voluntary muscles and wouldn’t focus on toilet training. Your child needs to have some control on their bladder and bowel movements. For example, they need to be able to stay dry for a couple of hours. Usually, bowel control develops before bladder control. As your child grows you will find them having fewer poos and starting to poo at a similar time every day.
Your child’s age plays a big factor in this. In order for the child to have some of these developed, they need to be older than 20 months, which is when they will start to have some bowel and bladder control. An American study published in the journal of pediatrics, found that children who were potty trained before the age of 27th months nearly always took longer than training a child after this age. However, these ages are a general estimate, every child is unique and yours could be ready before that.
When your child is mentally ready they will show the signs below:
- They are able to talk and make clear when they want to do a wee or a poo.
- They feel uncomfortable with a soiled nappy.
- They stop what they are doing to do a poo, like squat or hide.
- They show interest in people going to the toilet
- They are enthusiastic about exploring and flushing the toilet and trying on big kinds pants.
What do I need to buy?
You don’t need to buy much! Below is a list of what you need:
- Big boy pants/big girls knickers
- Toilet seat
- Toilet stool
- Toilet training story
- Foldable travel toilet seat (will help a lot with using public toilets)
How to get ready?
Preparing your child:
Start to prepare your child mentally a week or two earlier. You can get a story on potty training and read it with them regularly. There are really interesting ones with flaps and actions to get your child involved. You can also get them to sit on the toilet when they are still using nappies, maybe every nappy change or so.
Preparing your home:
Having your home prepared makes the experience way less stressful. Remove everything that can be difficult to wash from a wee or a poo. So if you have wooden flooring remove the carpets and if you have carpet throughout the entire house, try covering it with waterproof material or old, unwanted carpet. Remove some of the toys that maybe difficult to wash and perhaps reduce the number of toys out so it can be easily traced and washed . Take some time to think of your home and its design, think of what you would change if an accident occurs in that corner of the house.
While considering how you would like to clean the wee or poo, get your cleaning products ready and easily accessible. Keep it simple, so that your child can help with it as well.
Toilet training is a demanding time and you need to be just as physically and mentally prepared as your child. Ideally, you would take a week off to focus on toilet training and toilet training only. Don’t worry, it will be worth it and you can make it fun! A week off is of course the ideal case and not always possible to accommodate, but it allows you to spend that week at home so your child gets consistent training.
It is a very rewarding experience!
During the week
After all your preparation this week can go totally smoothly. Start by explaining to your child what you will be doing this week. Hopefully, they know a bit about it from the previous preparation mentioned above. Take your child through the reward chart, which will have the steps for toilet using like sitting on the toilet, doing a wee/poo, wiping, flushing and washing. This helps them remember the toilet routine a lot. Offer your child to go to the toilet every half an hour at the start, then increase and adjust it to their bladder habit. Every time your child goes to the toilet, go through their reward chart and let them tick what they have done. Once your child does their first wee/poo in the toilet, cheer for them and applaud their achievement.
As you may be at home that week, have lots of exciting indoor activities prepared for your child. This may include baking, messy drawing and new stories.
I hope it all works well for you. Please let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions, questions or tips!