For Part 2 of the Toilet Training series with Heather Johnson, go here: Toilet Training Part 2
Summer is just around the corner, and in our house that means…..time to toilet train the two year old. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
For most moms, just the thought of toilet training makes us anxious and stressed. But it doesn’t have to. With some preparation, patience and planning, toilet training can be a great experience for the whole family.
Today, in Part 1 of the two part series, we are going to talk about ways to know your child is ready to be trained and what you can do before you train them to help them prepare.
Our goal in training our children should be more than just getting them to go in the toilet. Our goal should be to teach them to go to the bathroom by themselves. We want them to have the same independence as an adult, and be able to go without the need for reminders or continual help.
There are a few things you can start to do when your child is very young, 12 months +, to help them prepare.
- Teach your child to follow instructions. Very young children CAN follow directions. Give them the opportunity. Give your child instructions to follow and don’t let the instructions go unfulfilled. Offer praise when they obey.
- Teach your children the words you are going to use when you train them, and be consistent. Simple words and commands like dry, wet, stand up, sit down. This is also a good time to make sure you and your spouse, or anyone else who is going to be around while you are training, use the same words so there is no confusion. It is important for everyone to use the same words so your child doesn’t get confused. Will you say potty, pee pee? What words will you use for body parts? These are good conversations to have in advance so you can start using the same words from the beginning.
- Let your child help dress and undress themselves. Especially when it comes to pulling up and down their pants. They probably wont be able to do it themselves, but allow them to be part of the process and encourage them to help.
- Let your child watch you and other family members, use the bathroom. Explain to them what you are doing. “Mommy is pulling down my pants so I can go to the bathroom.” When you are done, let them close the lid and flush the toilet. Get them excited about the process.
One thing that is always tricky, is figuring out if your child is ready to be trained. Training too early can cause problems, and training to late should be avoided also.
Research shows that as a child grows older, the lack of toilet training causes greater strains and tensions on family life and on the relationship between mothers and their children.
And, when you have older children who have yet to be trained, this usually means that there have been past training attempts that have failed. Past failures can lead to children going in their pants on purpose so they can get attention. (We will talk about this more in the next post.) When a mother sees that her child has wet their pants again she is usually upset and expresses disappointment to the child. The disappointment causes the child to feel they are no longer a source of happiness to their parents, but instead frustration.
There can be a lot of baggage in the relationship if past attempts have failed. If you have had unsuccessful attempts toilet training a child, it is a good idea to consider having someone else train your child. Grandparent, father, close friend…) Handling toilet training the wrong way can lead to parents having to “mend” past hidden damage.
How do you know if your child is ready to be toilet trained? Most children 20 months and older can be trained. But every child is different. There are three readiness tests you can use to determine if the time is right.
1. Bladder Control
* Does your child urinate all at one time, or “dribble” throughout the day?
* Does your child seem to know when they are about to go to the bathroom?
* Does you child stay dry for hours at a time?
If your child does all three, they have passed the test. Even if your child doesn’t tell you they are about to go, they might still be ready to train if they do the other two.
2. Physical Development
* Can your child walk from one room to another easily and without assistance?
* Does your child have enough coordination to pick objects up easily?
3. Understanding and following directions
* Ask them to follow you to another room.
* Ask them to copy you.
* Ask them to touch their nose, eyes, and mouth.
* Ask them to bring and object to you.
* Ask them to stand up
* Ask them to sit down
If your child isn’t able to follow the above instructions, you will want to work with them on following instructions before you start training. It could be that they are too young so they don’t understand yet. If they are older, then it could be that they are being stubborn. If you know they understand what you are asking, but still refuse to follow the instructions, address this before you start to train.
Here are some tips to help you teach a stubborn child to follow instructions.
- Be sure you have the child’s attention before you give instructions.
- Make sure you are next to your child before you give instructions.
- Do not give a second instruction until the first one has been completed.
- Provide gently manual guidance within a second or two after the instruction is given if the child doesn’t follow on their own. (Help them)
- Don’t let a temper tantrum stop you from seeing that the instructions are followed.
- When they follow instructions, be excited and enthusiastic.
- What toilet training and control have in common and how to get kids to give up the control.
- The importance of parental commitment. We can’t turn back.
- My very FAVORITE method for toilet training.