Dean M. Clifford, PhD.
Most parents worry about toilet training. The key word to remember is "relax." Your child will learn to use the toilet. But when? That depends on the child – some learn more easily than others.
Toilet training will be easier if you avoid these two mistakes:
- NEVER PUNISH
Accidents are normal. Praise for success, but don’t punish for accidents.
- DON’T START TOO EARLY
It’s best to begin training between the ages of two and three.
A child must be able to:
- Tell you when he needs to use the toilet
- Have muscle control of body functions, like wetting and bowel movements
- Pauses, makes sounds and faces when having a bowel movement
- Has regular bowel movements.
IS MY CHILD READY?
Between 20 and 30 months, most children show signs that they are ready for training. If you have seen many of these signs, your child may be ready:
- Stays dry for two hours or more at a time during the day
- Wakes up dry from naptime
- Complains when wet or dirty
- Tells you when she needs to go
- Wants to act like and please adults
- Can follow instructions
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO GET MY CHILD READY?
While you’re waiting for the signs:
- Let your child watch others use the toilet. Explain what it is for
- Teach toilet and body part words
- Teach her how to dress and undress
- Don’t let others push you to train early. Instead, wait until your child is ready
HOW DO I BEGIN?
Be matter-of-fact about training – as if it isn’t a big deal, but normal.
- Wait until you have time to focus on training
- Put a potty in the bathroom a few weeks before starting
- Show your child the chair and talk about it
- Put training pants on your child
- Tell him he can use the potty now
- Give praise and hugs for success
- Ignore accidents, except to say something like, "I’m sure you’ll be ready to do this soon."
- Expect training to be slow, with accidents along the way. Give it some time. But if it’s not working for you and your child, stop for a while. Try again in a few weeks or months when your child shows interest.
WHEN WILL MY CHILD STOP WETTING THE BED?
- Staying dry through the night is hard. For some children, this may not come for a long time
- Remember that your child is not wetting the bed on purpose
- Don’t punish for accidents
- Keep a plastic cover under the sheet
- The more calm you are, the easier toilet training will be!
Dean M. Clifford, PhD.
Reprinted with permission of zerotofive.org ( www.zerotofive.org )
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