Potty Training Basics: The Right Way to Toilet Train Your Toddler

Potty training is a major milestone in the development of a child. Most parents look forward to the time they will potty train their kids. The joy of potty training is that you will no longer worry about changing your child’s diaper. Despite the anticipation that moms and dads have, most of them do not know the basics of toilet training.

Some kids can take a few days to adapt to the changes, and others can take longer. Parents should know what to expect before the training begins to ensure that it is done at the right time and efficiently. The toddler must be both physically and emotionally ready for the toilet training. The child should be willing and cooperative. Do not try very hard as your child will eventually learn how to use the potty on their own. Here are some of the potty training basics to ease the process for both child and parent.

young family with two parents and a male toddler between them

Check for Signs

Most parents start potty training their toddlers at two years. In some cases, the child may start showing the signs earlier. The child is ready for potty training if he/she:

  1. Can follow simple instructions.
  2. Is able to pull the pants up and down.
  3. Becomes uncomfortable when wearing diapers.
  4. Starts calling himself/herself a big girl/boy.
  5. Can keep the nappy dry for up to three hours.
  6. Tells you that he/she is about to wee or poo.
  7. Is walking and sitting.

Prepare for Potty Training

potty training toddler with toothbruh

When you notice some of the signs, it is time to get ready for training. The parent will have to decide whether to train the child on how to use the potty or the toilet directly.

It is more advisable to use the potty as more children find it less scary compared to the toilet. You can ask your child what he/she prefers. If you opt to train your child using the toilet, get a small stool for the child to step on. Also, get a smaller seat that fits well in the existing toilet seat. This way, the child will sit on the toilet without the fear of falling into the bowl.

It is important to start training your child when you do not expect a big change in your routine. This could mean getting a new house or going for a holiday.

Help Your Child Get Ready

Train your child how to say some words related to going to the toilet, for example, poo and wee. Occasionally, motivate the child to sit on the potty or the small toilet seat to help him/her familiarize with the equipment.

Feed your child with plenty of fiber and water to prevent constipation. The main aim is to let the child learn at his/her pace. If you start the training and the toddler shows no interest in learning, give him/her time and later he/she will respond positively as they familiarize.

Start Potty Training

The best time to start training your child is when you do not have plans to leave the house. The real training begins when the child is aware that he/she is going to poo or wee and yearns to use the toilet or potty. The parent can also look out for signs that the child wants to go to the toilet. Some of the signs include passing wind, change of posture, and getting quiet.

When you note the child is about to pee or wee, encourage him/her to sit on the potty. If the child seats on the toilet for more than five minutes and no activity has taken place, take him/her off as it might feel like a punishment.

Praise the baby for the efforts made to let him/her know that sitting on the potty is a good thing. Remind the child to go to the toilet. Gradually stop using diapers and nappies except during day sleep and at night. Instead, use training pants or underpants. Dress the child in clothes that can come off easily such as trousers and avoid full body suits which can’t come out easily.

If you note that your child is having problems sitting on the toilet, demonstrate for them. Train your child how to wipe themselves after using the potty. Remember to wipe them from the front to the back. Also, show them how to pull the pants up after using the toilet or potty. Teach them that it is hygienic to wash their hands after visiting the toilet.

Start Night Training

When you start potty training, the child’s body is still not aware of most of its necessary reflexes. Therefore, it cannot wake up at night to use the potty. It is normal for the child to wet the bed at night for some time.

Before the child becomes ready for night training, continue using diapers or pull-up at night. Encourage the child to call for help if he/she wakes up in the middle of the night and feels like going to the toilet. Leave the potty near the bed to encourage the child to use it.

When you notice that the child stays dry for long at night, you can start nighttime potty training. Place a plastic sheet under the baby to protect the mattress. Let the baby sleep in underwear only. Have the child use the potty before getting to bed.

Upon waking up, encourage the child to use the potty before beginning his/her day’s activities. When night training, remember that the child has less control over bed wetting. When the child can’t stay dry overnight, embark on using diapers until he/she is a few months older.

Duration of Training

mother talking with baby daughter on toilet in bathroom for potty training

The average time for potty training a child is three months. In most cases, the child will still need help when wiping himself/herself until he/she is four to five years.

Setbacks while Toilet Training

Potty training is not an easy task. Drawbacks are expected, and they are part of the learning and training process. To avoid setbacks, trust children when they say they need to use the potty.

Also, remind the baby to use the potty if he/she has taken long before using it. Let the child use the potty before going to sleep. Always ensure that the potty is ready for use.

The stress that comes with potty training can make the child have health complications. For example, the child may pass out hard or watery poo. If the health complications persist, visit the pediatrician.

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