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Toilet Learning or Toilet Training?

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Toilet Learning or Toilet Training?

Parents decide on toilet training and start with military precision. You put time aside, a week or so, and expect success. You decide by a certain age your toddler, should be trained. Often your toddler has a completely different idea about toilet training!

Sometimes a 'bottom up' approach (no pun intended) can be less stressful and more successful! This may sound a bit controversial, but maybe we should let the toddler decide and tell us when they are ready. I think it may be more successful in lots of cases.

I came across this concept of Toilet Learning when I was exposed to the very wise teachings of Dr Louise Porter, an Australian Psychologist at the Holdsworth Centre, Woollhara NSW.

Here are my tips

  • Starting the learning process in the childs' 3rd summer (less clothes and their body is usually 'ready'),
  • Toddler/child is ready to start the training/learning process once they can tell you that they need to go to the toilet.
  • If they only tell you after they have already been that's an unready child.
  • Try and wait till they're ready. You'll have more chance of success.
  • It is important to explain to the child what you are trying to achieve.
  • Move from nappies to pants. This creates more awareness of accidents.
  • If using the toilet, then you may need a portable/lightweight step so they can move onto the toilet by themselves. Or, you may need a toilet insert so they don't fall into the bowl!
  • Teach your child the words needed for toilet training, such as 'wet', 'dry', 'wee, poo', 'it’s coming'. Choose words you are comfortable with.
toilet training
  • When the child 'performs' avoid using value judgements such as 'good' and 'bad'. Try and say things  like,"Well done for using the potty/toilet".
  • If they have little accidents try and ignore the accident. Change your child and start again. Scolding has a habit of causing regressions.
  • When the child is ready it should only take about a week to see success.
  • Try and let your child see mum or dad on the toilet to model behaviours.
  • Daytime wees in the potty / toilet tend to have success earlier than poos. Night time dryness can take a bit longer to achieve.
  • If they're having a lot of accidents or you get a sudden regression, it can be a sign of a urine infection so always check with your doctor or GP.
  • If the number twos / poos are an issue it may be best to speak to your health professional (Health Visitor, Child & Family Health Nurse, GP or Paediatrician) for help and advice. I have seen a few children with holding onto their bowel movements (ecopresis). It quite quickly gets out of control. It needs sensitive and appropriate management.

potty training

Some further reading

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