Toilet training is an essential step reflecting the developmental milestone of evolving self-independence in an activity of daily living. There is no defined age to when toilet training should start. However, a child in the age group of 18-24 months may exhibit signs of readiness for toilet training. Now, you pediatrician may be able to guide you and counsel you about when your child may be ready and help you deal with any frustration you encounter during the training. Now, the time required for a child to attend complete bowel and bladder control varies from child to child.

Do’s and Don’ts of Toilet Training

Do not start to potty train when your child is exposed to a new or a stressful situation, such as moving to a new place, new baby in the house or if dealing with major illness or death of a close family member. This can make learning very difficult. Now, it should definitely not be a forced act, as it would not only make the learning process lengthy and unpleasant but it can complicate it by causing the child to hold back bowel movement leading to hard stools, constipation and painful defecation. Now, do not view accidents as an act of disobedience as it may cause emotional stress on the child. Relaxed approached and positive reinforcement with praised toward every step of achievement always works. Do not let your child know how important or urgent this is for you. However, total excitement over any positive attempt always helps for quicker learning.

Signs indicating your child is ready for toilet training

Some of the signs indicating that your child is ready to be potty trained include – a child should be able to sit, stand and follow simple instructions, they want to imitate parents and look for parental approval, they are able to indicate that their diaper is soiled and wants to be cleaned, they can stay dry for 2 hours during the day and also after naps, bowel movements are somewhat regular and predictable by facial grimaces or the stance and the child wants to explore sitting on a potty seat.

Things you can do

Here are some of the things that you can do – firstly, make sure your child sits on a potty chair comfortably with being able to make his/her feet touch the ground. Now, sitting on the potty should be a consistence routine like every morning upon waking up, before naps and after meals and don’t let setbacks interrupt this routine. Now, when your child strongly resists, then do not insist on those days. Make sure that your plans of potty training are discussed with the care taker or day care, so that the same routine or lesson is continued to avoid confusion in the child. Now, gradually allow for progressive period without a diaper as your child stays dry for longer. Avoid using negative terminology like stinky or dirty so that your child is not embarrassed or confused by the act. Give your child a balanced diet with enough fibre and do not use laxatives or suppositories to enable bowel movements, unless advised by your doctor. Now remember, eventually all healthy children will be potty trained.

– Ovum Hospital Team