Making potty training easier

Preschooler on the potty

Here are a number of things you can do to make toilet learning easier for both you and your preschooler:

Help your child become familiar with what learning to use the toilet is all about. Before and during the learning process, read stories about using the toilet such as Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel. Explain to your child in simple terms how food and drink become “poo” and “pee,” and what the potty and toilet are used for. Remember, to a little child, a toilet is a big hole that makes a lot of noise. It’s common for some children to think they might fall in and disappear, or that a monster might come out of the toilet after them.

Choose a low-stress time to begin your child’s use of the toilet. Toilet learning works best when both you and your child are relaxed. Avoid times when he is dealing with change, like the arrival of a new baby in the family, a move to a new home, parents’ separation or starting daycare.

Help your child get started by saying that it’s time to start using the toilet like Mom or Dad. Allow her to watch other young children or family members on the toilet, to help her get the idea. Let her have her dolls or stuffed animal pretend to use the potty.

Use a potty chair.It allows children’s feet to touch the floor, helping them to feel more secure. It also allows them to get on and off without having help. Include your child in picking out a potty chair. Let your child just sit on the potty to get used to it, wait at least 1-2 weeks before starting any toilet learning Reading a short story to your child while they sit on the potty may help them to relax as we..

Stay nearby while your child is on the toilet or potty, and don’t make him stay any longer than he wishes to.

Dress your child in loose clothes that he can easily pull up or down. Use training pants or “pull-ups” or cotton underwear once he has been successful for 1-2 weeks.

Help make “going to the washroom” part of your child’s routine, by giving reminders like, “Let’s take a potty break.” Encourage her to use the toilet or potty right after meals, and just before and just after sleep. And when she says she has to go, act fast!

Teach bathroom hygiene. Show your child how to wipe properly after peeing or pooing-girls should wipe from the front to the back. Both boys and girls will need help with this particularly after a bowel movement. Show your child how to wash his hands after using the potty or toilet.

During the process, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Be patient. It may take a child 3-6 months before the diapers are gone for good during the day. Some children learn to control their bladders first others learn to control their bowels first. Bladder control through the night takes longer than day control. It can take several months or even years for your child to stay dry during the night.
  • Expect accidents to happen. Be calm do not overreact or blame, shame or punish your child. Have a change of clothes easily available. Accidents are common until about five years of age — ask any kindergarten teacher! And even when your child is staying dry during the day, naps and nighttime will still pose a challenge — this kind of control will take longer.
  • Also, a child who has learned to use the toilet may start wetting her pants or the bed due to stress or change. This is common and doesn’t usually last long, in terms of daytime dryness, but nighttime bedwetting may take longer to reinstate.
  • Try not to use words like dirty, stinky, smelly – this may make some children self conscious about using the potty or the toilet.
  • It’s very important to compliment your child’s attempts, even if he misses.
  • If your child resists toilet learning, back off and try again later; he may not be ready yet. To not force him this will only make it more frustrating for both of you.

Finally, remember that every child is different, so don’t worry if your child takes longer to be fully toilet trained.

Talk to your doctor:

  • if your child was using the toilet for several months and has now regressed;
  • she is withholding stool;
  • she is experiencing pain or
  • there is blood in the urine or stool; there is a rash;
  • is over 4 years old and not able to control his bowels or bladder
  • or you have other concerns about your child’s toilet learning