When Should Toilet Training Begin for a Child?

When Should Toilet Training Begin for a Child?

Toilet training

What is toilet training? 

This is to teach your child to identify his/her body signals for urinating and for having a bowel movement and using the potty chair appropriately for it. 

When should toilet training begin for a child? 

Instead of sticking to age to begin toilet training, since every child is different, it is recommended to look for certain signs in a child to recognise that they are ready for it.  Though most children show these signs between the ages of 18-24 months, some children may not be ready even by the age of 3. It is suggested to take this process slowly depending on the child’s readiness, instead of forcing it. Because at times starting it too early may take longer to train a child. The signs which indicate that your child is ready for toilet training are: 

  • Your child can walk well to reach the potty chair 
  • Your child can express his/her need to use the potty 
  • Your child understands when his/her nappy gets dirty 
  • They recognise their need to pee and tell you about it in advance or while they are doing it 
  • Has dry diapers for at least two hours a day
  • Can pull down their pants and pull them up back again 

If your child can comply with most of the points above then it is the right age for them to be toilet trained. When beginning with toilet training one should also keep in mind to follow it consistently for a few months and devote time and energy towards it. It is thus recommended to delay it if one has a travel plan or any other preoccupation in days to come. 

Points to remember while toilet training

Following some points as given below may help a parent toilet train their child- 

  • Use specific words like wee and poo which will help a child understand and also indicate you about them in the future. Avoid using negative words like dirty or stinky. 
  • When beginning to train the child for the toilet, it is recommended to use the potty chair on the floor. With the child’s feet reaching and touching the floor they feel more secure to sit on it. 
  • Never tie a belt around the child when they sit on the potty. They should be free to get up whenever they want to. 
  • In order to help your child, sit through on the potty, it is suggestive if the potty seat is kept outside in an area where the child spends more time, instead of the closed bathroom. Also, sitting beside your child, and talking to them or giving them a toy while they sit on the potty chair can help them stay. 
  • If your child has a specific time for bowel movements, such as immediately after a meal then it is recommended to make them sit on the potty chair at that time. Else, following a consistent time as you decide can help too, as it helps your child stick to a routine and they can eventually follow this as a habit. 
  • If your child doesn’t urinate or pass a bowel movement in the potty and instead uses the diaper for it as soon as you put it back then you should know that it’s alright! Do not scold your child for it, instead, look for a time when they use the potty rightly, and use it as an opportunity to praise them and reinforce this behavior. If you have older children, then make them praise the younger sibling too.
  • When teaching a boy to urinate, you can first teach them to sit and do it. It may be difficult to start and stop the urine while in a standing position initially. 
  • Along with potty training, train your child to maintain their hygiene as well. Cleaning the potty area and washing hands should be taught. Girls should be trained to clean from front to back so that germs bowel are not moved to the urinary area.
  • After a couple of weeks of successful training, as your baby remains dry during the day it is recommended that you switch to potty training pants from diapers. The disposable potty-training pants do not well up as diapers and thus the child finds it easier to indicate if they are wet. 

Toilet training at the night

Nighttime control usually comes later than day control, thus focus on training during the day first. 

If your child’s nappy is dry or minimally wet during the morning once they wake up they might be ready to be trained for the night. 

While training, make your child use the potty as the last thing before they go to bed at night, and also make sure that the toilet is nearby so that they can use it at night. Most children can stay completely dry at night by the ages of 5-7 years. In the meantime, one can be prepared for accidents, and usage of potty-training pants at night and a waterproof sheet to protect the mattress is a good idea. 

When to seek help? 

If your child looks ready for toilet training and you are facing difficulties, then it’s recommended to talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor can suggest to you if there may be an underlying problem. 

At all times, one should remember that toilet training does require a lot of time and patience and every child is not the same when it comes to learning it.

Ankura Hospital
Author: Ankura Hospital

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