The big day is finally here! Your child is showing interest in the toilet, maybe says "wee" or "poo" and has a dry nappy for a least two (2) hours. "OK" you say, "Where do I start"?
Probably the most important thing to remember is to start the toilet training process when you are at home and have no other appointments or engagements to attend. This way you can soley concentrate on your child by getting him/her started with toilet training.
Below are some tips that can help when the big day arrives:
1. Timing-This is crucial and it is important you know your child's toileting habits, so;
- Ensure you sit your child on the toilet or potty when you know he/she usually does a poo. This could be after a nap or after lunch. Remember that your child needs to have some awareness of when he/she is doing a wee or poo or is curious about the process, otherwise it could be a novelty that might not last very long.
- Be aware of the signs that your child may need to go to the toilet. I know from my own experiences, my boys would always hold onto themselves and I would immediately say, "Do you need to go to the toilet"? They would then do a big dash to the toilet to do a wee. In the case of my grandson, he would simply go and hide while he did a poo.
- Sit your child on the toilet. If they haven't done a wee or poo after a few minutes, make sure you remove them. Otherwise they will associate sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods, as punishment.
- Establish a routine with your child of sitting on the toilet regardless of whether they wee or poo. If they do wee or poo, well, that's a bonus and hopefully it will make the toilet training process easier and faster. But remember that each child is an individual and toilet training only happens when they are ready, not when you would like them to be ready. So be very patient with your child.
2. Encouraging and reminding your child-Be gentle and don't pressure your child so;
- Always praise your child for trying and especially when he/she’s successful. You could say, ‘Wow! I'm so proud of you for sitting on the toilet’. This let's him/her know what a great job they are doing. Remember praise is good for everyone including adults. As yourchild slowly begins to understand what is required of them when they sit on the toilet, you can tone down the praise to maybe just a pat on the shoulder or a thumbs up.
- It's important to regulary ask your child if they need to go to the toilet, especially if they are engrossed in an activity. I would suggest maybe every two hours. Don't make your child feel pressured about going to the toilet, as this can create a power play. Just use gentle reminders.
- If your child has an accident and misses the toilet, don't make a big fuss. Just clean up the mess and don't say anything. Remember they aren't able to hold on and if they leave it too late, an accident is likely to happen. Besides, it is early days and your child will more than likely have the odd accident.
3. Pants and clothing-Easy to get in/out of clothing is the best idea, so;
- The most important part of the training process is to stop using nappies, except at night or during their daily nap. Instead make sure you have a big supply of underpants and start using these all the time. Take your child out shopping and let them pick the underpants they would like to wear. This would build up their self-esteem about toilet training and reinforce how big boys/girls wear undies NOT nappies.
- During the toilet training process simple clothing that can be removed easily is very important, for instance elastised shorts/pants but no overalls or onesies. Toilet training in summer is easier, as your child can go around with just undies and a t-shirt. Toilet training is easier for girls when they wear skirts and dresses, as they simply lift them up when needing to sit on the toilet.
4. Hygiene-This is very important and early instructions can make it easier when your child eventually goes to school, so;
- Start by wiping your child’s bottom until the child learns how. Remember to wipe from the front to the back, particularly with girls. Make sure you explain the process to them and why. I believe the more information they have the better equiped they will be about the hygiene process.
- Explain/teach your child that they don't need half a toilet roll to wipe their bottoms. Many a toilet has become blocked and a visit from a plumber is required to unblock it. Explain/teach them how many squares of toilet paper to use. For example, if it is good quality toilet paper they may only need 3-4 squares but the thinner variety may require more. I don't know how many children I've witnessed using half a toilet roll and then simply scrunching up the paper into a ball and then proceeding to wipe their bottoms. This is simply impossible!
- Teaching my two sons to aim at a ping pong ball in the toilet bowl really helped. I also used a small step to lift them up higher, while urinating. This helped reduce the mess on the floor around the toilet bowl. When your son has finished weeing, teach him to shake off the excess moisture off his penis. This is where an adult male or older brother can help by showing him the process. Also some boys might prefer to sit down to do a wee, so don't pressure them to stand up until they are ready.
- Explain/teach your child how important it is to flush the toilet and the germs away.
- Explain/teach your child how important it is to wash his/her hands with soap and water, after using the toilet. I use the song "This is the way we wash our hands", works like a treat.
- Teach them to also dry their hands.
Check out my next installment on 3 Reasons Why-Pull-ups vs Underwear on Toilet Training on 28/4/2019
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