Remember – going to the toilet is a skill that has to be learned. Its not a task that we can just produce or do. That means it follows a process. It’s a learning process that you can guide and support.
Familiarisation with the toilet and toileting should begin from an early age – no age is too early to be positive and to involve your child in toileting!
By far, the majority of research recommends the training phase begins around 18 months – 2 years of age. Girls at this age are usually developmentally ahead and therefore may begin earlier than boys.
In the beginning and at the beginning
Everyone, including your child begins learning by watching and taking in what’s happening around them – they absorb feelings and activity and learn how they should feel and do things.
Create a positive vibe around going to toilet. Help your child understand that its normal and something everyone does. You might say at times that you are “just going to the toilet” by mentioning when you leave the room to go and then let them watch if they follow you. Don’t make it a big deal.
Hmmm and now I'm curious!
As we watch, we start to get interested, that leads to curiosity and exploration. Your child will become curious and want to explore and be involved in toilets and toileting – following you in, flushing the toilet, wanting to watch, playing with paper and a potty if you have one – Let them!
Its part of how we get ready to learn something new. Adults ask questions and experiment to get feedback and decide yes I want to have a go – or not. So do children.
This is your time to be low key but active – telling your child when you’re going to the toilet, reminds them you need to stop what you’re doing and go somewhere else. Sit them on the toilet to wipe their bottom or give them their turn after they’ve been watching you go. Start putting tissues or toilet paper in nappies to create some feedback that weeing in your nappy leads to discomfort – this will help the child connect the feeling of weeing with a consequence of wetness. Remember, any signs of constipation need to be sorted first before any thought of training – kids won’t poo in pain.
Monica Ferrie is Mama You've Got This' Toilet Training Expert from Toilet Training Educators. Monica presents on the different stages of toilet training in the Toddler Experts on Demand Video Series and at the Mama You've Got This Toddler Masterclass where she will answer your questions live.