By Lorraine Thomas, Chief Executive of The Parenting Coaching Academy.
Every toddler will eventually get the hang of using the toilet, but be prepared – toilet training is a messy business. Give it a go when you have got the time, patience and energy. The more positive and relaxed you are, the easier it will be.
Is Your Toddler Ready?
There is no ‘right’ age to start toilet training. Every toddler is different. Some will get the hang of it much earlier than others. Boys often take longer than girls. In general, most children are aged between two and three when they start.
Don’t feel under pressure to start because other parents are doing it. Go with your gut instinct. Look out for the signs; these include showing interest in the toilet, telling you they want a wee or poo or pulling off nappies. You both need to be on top form to make toilet training work, so don’t start when they are unwell or tired. Make sure training does not coincide with a change in your toddler’s daily routine, such as change of childcare.
Training during summer months is helpful because you can let your little one run around without a nappy on.
Decide whether you are going to use a potty or would rather attach a training seat to your toilet.
Sharing a fun book about using the potty provides a good opportunity to talk to your toddler, so order one in advance. Take your toddler with you when you go to the toilet and show them how it is done so they know the deal before you ask them to have a go. Let them choose a new pair of pants to wear. The more involved they feel, the better.
Consistency is key, as it is for much of toddler training, so it’s important to sit your toddler on the potty or toilet at regular intervals. Young children don’t like sitting for long so help them by chatting or reading a story. The toilet can frighten some toddlers because of the noise. If you encounter this, flush after your toddler has left the bathroom when you first start training. Keep your approach low-key. If you take it in your stride – they will learn to do so too.
Adopt a favourite song for your toddler to listen to when on the toilet or give them a book to look at. Toilet sticker charts in the bathroom can work wonders. Praise effort and attitude more than the result! Always be consistent and make sure other carers are using the same approach.
Accidents will happen
It will take time. Some toddlers take weeks, others months, and bladder control usually comes after bowel control. It is also perfectly normal to be dry during the day, but not at night. Accidents are inevitable. Some toddlers are fine at home, but unable to use the toilet when out. Make sure part of your routine is portable e.g. singing the same song will help. Remember to stay calm and positive - this is all new to your toddler, so it’s important you are calm as this will rub off on them. And don’t worry about it – they’ll get there sooner or later!
Lorraine Thomas is an international speaker and Chief Executive of The Parent Coaching Academy. Her clients include Disney, Goldman Sachs, Tesco and Barclays. She is the acclaimed author of parenting and coaching books, ‘Brilliantly Behaved Toddler’; ‘The Mummy Coach’; ‘Get A Life’; and ‘The 7-Day Parent Coach’. Her new children’s book, Super Coach Arty vs The Shadow - Taking the Fear out of Failure will be published by Jessic Kingsley Publishers in July. Find out more at www.theparentcoachingacademy.com