If you have a baby or toddler, you may be wondering about toilet training – when do you start? Is it bad if you start too early or too late? Should you use a reward system? These and other questions often concern parents. Here are some tips that may help you as you begin considering toilet training for your child.
Know the Signs
Read up on the signs that a toddler is ready to begin toilet training. It’s a good idea to talk to other parents in this regard, too. Bear in mind, of course, that you know your toddler best and ultimately the decision is between you and your child. Some signs to look for include:
* Interest in you and other family members using the toilet
* Discomfort with the feeling of a dirty diaper (he may ask you to change him)
* The diaper is dry after a nap
* Your toddler can follow simple directions
Approach It Together
Rather than thinking about toilet training as a big battle of wills, think of it as a mutual goal. If your child is ready, she will want to learn how to use the toilet. You, the parent, are simply helping her reach her goal. You might try talking in these terms, and look at yourself as a helper.
Reading books and watching age-appropriate videos on toilet training can give children a boost toward wanting to learn to use the potty. Talk it up without pressure and see if your child latches on to the concept.
Invest in a potty chair if possible. Some sources recommend placing your child’s potty chair or other training potty out where he can see it. You may want to set it up in the bathroom so your child can follow you and try using his potty while you use the toilet. It may be less intimidating that way, and your child may enjoy sitting and reading on the potty just to get used to it and have a positive experience there.
To help your child get used to flushing her waste, try dropping the contents of her diaper into the toilet and letting her flush. Training toilets or potty chairs have a removable cup or bowl – let your child see you dump the contents into the toilet and let her flush it away.
Know Your Child’s Schedule
Pay attention to when your child eliminates so that you can seize those moments for toilet training. If you know a bowel movement or urination is on the way, you can encourage your child to use the toilet when you know he will need to go.
Make It Easier
Parents have found success encouraging trips to the toilet with special books. It’s also a good idea to dress your potty-ready child in loose, easy-to-remove clothing so that you can reduce the chance of accidents.