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Toilet training your child

There is no age limit to when you should start toilet training your child. Most toddlers start to use the toilet/potty between the age of two - three years, some might take even longer. This is a new experience for your child so be patient. You will win in the end. Here are a few pointers to help you out.

How do I know when my child is ready?
Boys tend to stay in nappies longer than girls, but most children are ready to potty-train sometime between their second and third birthdays. Some children train themselves when they're about 18 months old, while others show no interest until after their fourth birthday.

How to start:
Pick a time when your child's daily routine is proceeding smoothly and he hasn't recently faced any major disruptions.

Get your child comfortable with the potty by showing him that it's his own. You could write his name on it together and let him decorate it with stickers. Leave the potty around where your child can see it, and get to know what it`s for. Encourage your child to sit on it with his clothes on, so he can get used to the idea.

Let your child come into the bathroom with you. Talk about what you're doing there. Make the toilet a fun place to be, tell him a story while he (you to begin with) are on the toilet.

If your child regularly opens his bowels at the same time each day, take off his nappy and suggest that he uses his potty. If your child gets upset put his nappy back on and try the next day.

As soon as you notice your child is going to pee, try the same thing. But leave his nappy off for a while, if he has an accident it is easily cleaned.

Remember always praise your child. This will make him want to do it more.

Make it fun:
Buy a packet of "big kid" underpants decorated with a cool design. He'll find them an incentive to get out of nappies.

For a boy, use targets to teach him to pee standing up. Cheerios floating in the toilet bowl are great fun to aim at. And if you're not squeamish about him peeing in the garden, you can paint or tape a target on a tree.

Buy a doll that comes with their own miniature potty. When your child teaches his doll how to use the toilet, he's teaching himself.

Make up a story about a child using a potty or you could get one from your local library.

What not to do when Potty/toilet training

Don`t start to soon:
There is no age limit to when you should start toilet training your child. Most toddlers start to use the toilet/potty between the age of one - two years, some might take even longer. Your child will let you know when he is ready.

Don`t start if:
You are about to give birth. When you're planning a move, or during any other disruptive event in your child's life is not a good idea. Toddlers like routine, and any changes are likely to cause setbacks in their behavior. Instead, wait until things have settled down and then start.

Don`t pressure your child:
If your child has started to show an interest in toilet training, that's great. But don't push him to get through it faster than he`s ready to. If your child gets nervous, he could start withholding his stool, which can lead to constipation and other problems.

Let your child take his time. He has been wearing a nappy since birth and this is a new experience for him. The toilet may seem frightening reassure him that he has nothing to be frightened of.

Don`t listen to other peoples advice:
My mother always told me that I and my siblings were out of nappies at one year old when I was potty training my children. And you will probably hear this from your mother/mother in-law and others. Don`t listen to them all babies are different. Any way they would have had the same trouble with their first child despite what they say. Potty training can`t be and shouldn`t be rushed. Both you and your child will know when it is time. But don`t leave it until your baby is starting school.

Don`t punish your child:
Don`t get angry or punish your child if he won`t use the potty/toilet or if he has an accident. This will make him frightened and just make matters worse. Set backs will happen and getting upset or scolding him will only make your child less interested in training; he'll be afraid of making any more mistakes and making you angry. He may also start withholding his stool, which can lead to painful constipation. Reassure your child that he is doing well. This will make him feel good and he will want to learn.

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