Toilet training your child can be a challenging experience, for both you and them! But we hope these tips and tricks help take some of the pressure off the process.
Toilet Training Your Child - Helpful Tips and Tricks
Toilet Training Your Child - Helpful Tips and Tricks
Toilet training your child can be a challenging experience, for both you and them. But we hope these tips help take some of the pressure off the process.
Teaching your child how to use the toilet is a major and important step in their life. And as we know, every child is different so the timeline of taking them from using nappies to using the toilet can vary quite drastically. And that’s ok!
Before we dive into some tips for toilet training, we first want to preface this article by saying you don’t need to teach your child to use the toilet too early. You can generally start looking for signs your child is ready to toilet train from the age of 18 months onwards as this is when they start to mature enough to recognise the urge to go to the toilet. However, it is common for parents to start later than 18 months so don't put pressure on you or your child if the timing doesn't feel right. And remember, premature toilet training will only frustrate and upset your child, and you as a parent!
Also, know that a child will usually master daytime toilet training before they learn how to not wet the bed during the night. We’ll give more helpful hints on this later in the article so keep reading.
Ok, let’s dive into some helpful tips on how to toilet train your child…
Look for signs they're ready to toilet train
While we’ve mentioned waiting until the right age to start teaching your child to use the toilet, there are also other signs they might show that indicate they’re ready.
These can include:
They are walking and can sit for short periods of time
They’re more independent and can use words like “no” or “yes” to decide what they want
They’re interested in watching their parents or siblings go to the toilet
They have a dry nappy for 2 or more hours at a time
They can gesture or use words like “poo” or “wee” to tell you they’ve soiled or wet their nappy
They begin to not like wearing a nappy, and may even try to pull it off when it’s wet or soiled
They are having regular, soft, formed bowel movements
They can pull their pants up and down
They can follow simple instructions like “Give the spoon to Mama”
Prepare your child in the lead up
Choose the words you’re going to start teaching your child for going to the toilet. This could be using words and cues like “wee”, “poo”, and “I need to go”.
Letting your child watch you, the parent, and other trusted family members use the toilet can be helpful as you can talk them through and show them what you’re doing.
Start putting training pants on your child once or twice a day to help them understand the feeling of wetness and eventually learn they should always feel dry and to use the toilet to avoid feeling wet or soiled like that.
Also ensuring your child is eating enough fibre and drinking enough water will help maintain regular bowel movements and avoid constipation - which can make toilet training a very uncomfortable and more daunting experience.
Have the right equipment and products
Generally, getting your child to use the actual toilet straight away may be a bit daunting for them, so having a potty or smaller toilet seat attachment for the toilet can be beneficial.
If you have a potty, it can be used in any room in the house and is easy to take along on car trips. Just be aware that your child might begin to become used to only using the potty and using a toilet may be too much for them. This could be when it’s a good idea to try using both the potty and a toilet training seat to teach them how to use both.
How to actually get started with toilet training!
It can be all well and good to say, “Yes, we’re going to start toilet training!” But when it comes to actually starting, it can be a bit confusing and feel uncertain.
Here are some tips on what to do when you’re actually starting to toilet train:
- Stop using nappies on your child during the day and have them wear training pants as we mentioned earlier. If you’re at home, you can even let them be bare-bottomed. Continue to use nappies when the child is sleeping, as it will take them more time to learn how to hold during sleep, or the cue to break sleep to go to the toilet.
- Give them a gentle reminder at regular intervals throughout the day to see if they need to go to the toilet. Take them to the toilet 20 to 30 minutes after meals, before and after sleep and at regular times during the day. Every 2 hours should be enough.
- If you notice they usually poo at a certain time of day, put them on the toilet then. Watch for signs they may need to go. These signs can include wriggling or dancing, hiding or isolating themselves and pulling at their nappy, underwear or pants.
- Sit your child on the toilet or potty for 2 or 3 minutes at a time, while they’re getting used to it. Don’t sit them on there for long periods of time as they may associate this with punishment. Once they’re used to going to the toilet, you can ask them if they need to go.
- Remember, accidents will continue to happen for a little while. Be as patient and understanding as you can. This is all new to your child.
- You will still need to wipe them after doing a wee or poo to begin with to ensure it’s done properly - they also may still be too young to coordinate wiping.
- Dress your child in easy-to-manage clothing so that removing things to use the potty or toilet isn’t a challenge. Think elasticised waists and zippers instead of buttons.
Allow training breaks at the beginning
If a week goes by without any successful attempts of using the toilet, give your child a couple of weeks' break. This could happen on and off for some time until they start recognising when to use the potty or toilet. Remember, this process isn’t a race. They’ll pick it back up when they’re ready.
Give plenty of praise when things go well
Praising your child when they identify they need to go and use the potty or toilet is so crucial for reinforcing this behaviour. This means even praising them when they go and sit on the potty or toilet but they don’t go - this is still great progress!
You can praise your little one by using things like sticker charts, giving them a cuddle or high-five, and of course, using lots of positive language and telling them how proud of them you are. Essentially you need to make them feel like the coolest, smartest kid in the world!
When it comes to accidents or any mishaps in training, don’t react to these in a negative way whatsoever. This will automatically associate using the toilet with getting in trouble and can delay progress. Simply give them plenty of reassurance and move on. Remember, this isn’t a linear journey and will present some ups and downs.
How to know when to night-time toilet train
As mentioned already, your child is likely to master daytime toilet training a little while before they learn how to sleep through the night without wetting themselves.
As for when you’ll know they’re ready to go without nappies at night, you can consider signs such as these:
If your child is regularly waking up with a dry nappy, or they are only wet just as they wake (the nappy will be soaked and urine warm).
If your child tries going to the toilet during the night or calls out for your help, you can try night-time toilet training.
Some ways you can start helping your child stay dry through the night can include:
Make using the toilet part of their getting ready-for-bed routine.
Remind them that it’s ok to get up during the night to use the toilet if they feel the need
If your child wakes during the night for something other than needing the toilet, still ask them if they want to use it before going back to bed.
Praise your child if they’re dry in the morning.
Pull-up pants can be a really helpful aid in toilet training, particularly for overnights, as it avoids any extra clean-ups.
Our range of Magics Youth Pants is fantastic, because not only do they feel like real underwear and are easy to take on and off, their Magical Tube technology provides fast absorbency and keeps your child dry for up to 12 hours! They’re suitable for ages 4 to 15, so are a great option for any children who may take longer to toilet train, experience bedwetting or have a condition whereby they experience incontinence.
Know when to seek help
Some children will be dry at night by age 3 or 4, and most are dry by age 5. However, it’s normal for children to still be bedwetting at the beginning of primary school. Most will become dry on their own, but you should speak to your child’s pediatrician if they’re still experiencing bedwetting at age 7 or 8. The same goes for bedwetting in older children and teenagers.
Also, if you’re noticing your child is regularly wetting during the day after the age of four, you should also seek professional advice from their pediatrician. You can also call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 643 120, Monday-Friday 8am to 8pm.