Relax. Your child. will. not. start high school while still in diapers. Although parents sometimes lament that dry undies—day and night—might never come about, sooner or later youngsters are ready, willing and able to do their own toileting.
Timing Still, there’s no rush. Kids aren’t physically and emotionally ready to tackle this milestone until they’re at least 18 months old and boys tend to be ready a few months after girls. Although some little ones have an interest in using the potty before 24 months of age, most kids achieve bladder and bowel control between the ages of two and four. But experts advise that you don’t focus on your kid’s age. Individual readiness is a key factor to consider when you’re planning to start the process. There are certainly clues to help you determine whether the time is right:
• Your child is curious about the toilet and how you use it.
He shows interest in stories about using the potty.
• You can tell he recognizes when he is moving his bowels or urinating. (He might pause or try to conceal what he’s doing.)
• His bowel movements are regular.
• His diaper is dry for hours at a time.
• He can balance while sitting on a potty.
• He can follow simple instructions and tell you he needs to go.
• He wants that independence.
• The time has to be right for you too. If you’re moving to a new home, switching him to a difference daycare provider or about to give birth to his sibling, delay the start of training until you’re back into a consistent routine. It’s also important to ensure you can devote plenty of time, attention and TLC to helping him master this skill set. On average, toilet training can take between three and six months.
Have patience. If your child spends weekdays with a daycare provider, discuss your toilet training plan before you start encouraging “action” so that the routine, the language and the expectations are consistent in both places. Make sure you pack lots of extra clothes and that your tot is dressed in clothing that is easy to pull off and on. You want to set him up and support him to have success. And recognize there will be many accidents along the way. Part of the process, setbacks are to be expected.
Next, talk about toileting with your little one and explain that it’s something, mom, dad and other favourite people do every single day. Then, introduce the potty. Bring one home and let your toddler investigate it, sit on it and get used to it. (By the way, it’s okay for boys to start by doing all their business while sitting down.) It may be helpful to plan regular potty breaks for both yourself and the “trainee.” You can start with a potty-time schedule that includes pit stops first thing in the morning, before lunch, after lunch, after snack, before dinner, after dinner and before bedtime. Monitor the success and modify the schedule as you go along. You want to catch the opportune moment so that your little one gets the job done with plenty of self-satisfaction.
Incentives, such as stickers and preferred activities, are used by some families. In other households, praise by an older sibling or some bathroom attention by the family dog is enough to help galvanize junior from a diaper into full time underpants. Always, though, you can’t go wrong with appropriate, positive reinforcement.