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Tips for Toilet and Potty Training

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Tips for Toilet and Potty Training
Toilet or potty training is something that every parent wants to get right. 

So here's a few tips for toilet and potty training success that will help you on your way
  • It is best not to start toilet training at a time when your child is adjusting to other changes, eg. when there is a new baby in the family or he is starting childcare.
  • Try and keep calm about it and try not to expect it to be completed by a certain date. They will pick up on the added stress and probably not perform as well. Keep it calm and pressure free. Nobody performs well under pressure!
  • If you think your child might be ready to start training, choose a time when you are likely to have the time and patience to give him your full attention. It is better to wait for a few days or even a couple of weeks until you have time, rather than try to rush it. Some toddlers can be trained in a couple of days if you choose the right time. Trying to train them early can lead to regression and accidents and disaster!
  • Some toddlers can be introduced to toilet training by getting comfortable with the potty first, eg. leaving the potty where he can see and touch it, or letting teddy or dolly sit on the potty ‘to do a wee’. Modelling behaviours.
  • You might start by noticing when your child is doing a poo in his nappy and tell him, “I think you’re doing a poo”.
  • Later watch for signs that he is about to do a wee or poo (such as expressions on his face or stopping very still for a moment), and guide him to the potty or toilet. You might say something like “Let’s see if there’s a wee coming”. Eventually he will be able to know and get there himself. Some toddlers get very engrossed in play and forget about the toilet till its too late!
  • If your child tells you before he does a wee or poo, thank him for telling you and take him to the toilet or potty straight away. Toddlers cannot ‘hold on’ for more than a few seconds. Their nervous system involved in having a wee is very immature.
  • If he doesn’t get there in time at first, give him praise for whatever he has managed, eg. pulling down his pants, trying to get to the toilet, or sitting on the toilet. Make sure he sees that the praise is for learning a new skill, not something he has to do to please you. For example you might say, “You did that really well” rather than “You are a good boy”.
  • Children should not be made to sit on a potty or toilet for a long period of time. This feels like punishment to the child and does not help toilet training.
  • Night time dryness can take a while. 10% of 5 year olds still wet the bed and this can be quite normal.
Reward successes with cuddles. Say things like "I am proud of you for trying'.
Be positive and praise small steps. Learning to use the toilet is a new skill and a difficult one.
If it seems like the training has gone on too long and it's not working speak to your GP. There may be a physical reason and it may be really easy to sort out.

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