Toilet training is a major milestone for toddlers to hit, and it’s a big step for parents too. Oh, how wonderful not to have to change diapers anymore! But toilet training for toddlers is not an overnight process so it does require two important things to be successful . . . time and patience. Expect toilet training to take anywhere from 3 to 6 months (sometimes less or more) depending on a variety of factors.
Everything You Need To Know About Toilet Training for Toddlers
Is Your Toddler Ready For Toilet Training?
Before you start toilet training, you need to consider if your child is ready. Being ready will make the process go faster, allow your child to succeed and give your child more confidence. Being ready has less to do with age and more to do with developmental stages. Many children are ready between 18 and 24 months, but some may take as long as 3 years. Here’s what to look for when assessing readiness for toilet training:
- Can your toddler walk and sit on the toilet by themselves?
- Can he or she pull their pants up and down?
- Does their diaper stay dry for 2 hours or more?
- Can your toddler understand and follow simple directions?
- Can your toddler communicate with you when they need to go?
- Does your toddler seem interested in using the toilet?
If you answered mostly yes, then your toddler is most likely ready to start toilet training. If they’re about to experience a big change though, like moving or the addition of a new sibling, you may want to wait as it may be too much for them to handle all at one time.
Getting Started- How To Toilet Train A Toddler
It’s important for your toddler to be able to reach the floor with their feet when they sit on the toilet so either use a potty chair or a specially fitted toilet seat with a step stool.
Encourage your child to sit on the potty with their clothes on at first to get them used to the idea. Use positive terms and reinforcement to talk about the toilet. You can even dump their diaper contents in the toilet and let them flush so they begin to understand the toilet’s purpose.
As part of toilet training for toddlers, be sue to schedule regular potty breaks, even if they say they don’t have to go. Have them sit on the toilet for a few minutes in two-hour intervals as well as first thing in the morning and after naps. Even if they just sit and don’t actually go, praise them for giving it a try and let them know they can try again later. Be consistent about regular potty breaks.
For boys, it’s usually easier for them to master urinating sitting down then move to standing up after they’ve successfully mastered having bowel movements sitting down.
Watch for Signs That Your Child Needs To Potty
If you see your child squirming or holding themselves, it’s usually a sign that they need to go. Even if they don’t tell you, move quickly to get them to the toilet so that they can start to learn when they’re body is telling them it’s time to go. If they tell you that they need to go, praise them for recognizing it and acting on it.
Helping them to avoid mistakes by watching for potty signs or having them use the restroom before outings will help them them avoid frustration and shame. It they do have an accident, be sure to be encouraging. Explain to them that they need to act quickly to get to the bathroom when they begin to feel the urge and that it takes a little bit to master the signs but that they are starting to get the hang of it. Everything takes practice to learn.
Don’t Forget Proper Hygiene
Part of toilet training for toddlers is to be sure to teach your child proper wiping procedures and the importance of washing their hands after they go. This can be easy for them to forget if they’re in a hurry to get back to play time.
It will take some time and getting them to stay dry through nap time and nighttime can take even longer. They may not stay completely dry through sleep until they’re 5 to 7 years old. Use disposable training pants, stay dry cloth briefs, and mattress covers until they’ve successfully managed this.
All kids are different. My daughter toilet trained early, around 18 months, and pretty quickly but she couldn’t get used to the doing #2 on the toilet. Until she was about 2 years old , I had watch for her to start crawling under her toys and furniture and then I’d ask her if she needed a diaper because I knew just what she was about to do. If I tried putting her on the toilet she couldn’t do it. She also took much longer to be able to hold it through the night. My son was much later to toilet train but he completed whole process much more quickly.
Toilet training your toddler will take some time and patience so stay calm, don’t scold, and always be prepared with a change of clothes, underwear, and some encouragement. I hope you found these tips useful in toilet training for toddlers.