Your little baby is no longer the little infant you held in your arms. He’s now a bundle of energy – bouncing around and exploring everything around him. Soon he will outgrow his nappies and will need to learn how to relieve himself in the right places.
So, at what point do you actually know that it’s time to toilet train (or potty train) your child? Some say it’s best to start when the child is between 18 – 24 months old, but you really can’t put a benchmark on it. Experts believe the best time to teach a child is when he is ready.
Once you have established that your child is ready for potty training, here are some tips to make the toilet training sessions fun for you and for your child.
- If you have a boy, point them towards a tree or a small plant when they start to do a wee and say that he is watering the plants. Make sure though, that you eventually wean him out of “watering the plants” to wee-ing in the toilet. Watering plants is only acceptable for toddlers, not pre-schoolers.
- Since girls are generally supposedly fussy about making a mess, they are often more interested in learning how to use the toilet properly. Try dressing your daughter in a skirt or a pretty frock while she’s learning.
- Use proper underpants as early as possible. Kids learn faster when they can distinguish the difference between clean underpants and wet undies. When they know how uncomfortable it is to be walking around in wet undies (or how much time changing nappies takes out of their play time), they will feel motivated to go to the toilet when they have to.
- If your child is able to control his bladder, but not his bowels, do not be overly concerned. Most children are unwilling to do a poo in the toilet and would wait until a nappy is on. If you know that your child is ready for a poo, sit him on the toilet for a few minutes and encourage him to move his bowels. If nothing happens, just put a nappy on him. He probably isn’t ready to poo in the toilet yet.
- Soon, you will have to leave the house with the child dressed only in his underpants (no nappies!). When this time comes, make sure you have a spare set (or 2) of clothes in the car and don’t go on ambitious outings that will entail traveling for hours on end. Go outdoors – visit a park, or the beach, or just walk around the block. Once your child becomes more in control of his facilities, you can go out for longer trips.
Finally, while you’re training your child to use the toilet, you should take this opportunity to teach your child about proper hygiene as well. Click on this link to view a fun nursery rhyme you can sing to your kids about washing their hands after using the toilet.