Toilet training your child can be an emotional and physical challenge. Children will reach this stage of their development in their own time. Children under 18 months do not have the developed sphincters (muscles) in the bladder or bowel to hold wee or poo, so a child under 18 months are not recommended to be toilet trained.
Major upheavals in everyday life can affect their ability to toilet train, so it is important to only start toilet training when you and your child is ready.
A few signs that your child may be ready for toilet training are:
- They ask about other children going to the toilet
- They take an interest in what you’re doing in the bathroom
- They say they need a wee or poo
- They let you know when their nappy needs changing
- They begin to squat and pull down their pants
- They are dry for a couple of hours each day
Every child is different, and some will become toilet trained quicker than others. If your way of toilet training isn’t working, try a different way there are a variety of websites that will be able to help you. Be prepared for lots of puddles, and never punish your child for accidents as doing so may cause regression.
It is common that your child will be dry in the day but wet at night. Don’t rush your child to be dry at night, wait until your child is comfortably dry in the day. If your child is taking time to become dry at night, it might be that your child nervous system isn’t developed enough to control their bladder at night. Again, never punish your child for wetting the bed, reassure them and put a plastic sheet on their mattress for such accidents. If your child continues to wet the bed after the age of six, visit your GP as an underlying problem may be the problem.
It might be worth investing in a potty, as a toilet can be a frightening thing for a small child. Then once they have mastered the potty, a toilet seat to go on top of the toilet may help any fears your child may have of falling into the toilet.
During toilet training, you may need to give a thought to extra hygiene measures to maintain a safe and healthy environment for your family. These measures include:
- Emptying and cleaning the potty on every occasion your child uses it
- Making sure the toilet is flushed, and cleaning the toilet seat regularly
- Cleaning the sink, taps and door handles regularly
Your child has been used to doing a wee or poo in their nappy while they’ve been playing. They might not like to stop their playing to go to the toilet, so you will need to make it fun and exciting for them. Some tips to make them become involved with their toilet training are:
- Choosing or decorating their potty, so that it is special to them
- Explain what you do in the bathroom, and make fun of flushing and hand washing
- Encourage them to stay on the toilet by putting some toys and books nearby. Make sure these toys and books are easily wipeable to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Praise your child when they use the potty or toilet
- Introduce toilet training pants so that your child can pull their own pants up and down, to encourage independence
- Make sure you encourage flushing and hand washing