Toilet training your child can be a difficult process and it can feel like there is never a right moment to begin. With countless nights waking up changing the bed sheets and encouraging your child to go to the toilet, with work and other commitments, it can be hard to find the time. If your child is going to attend preschool, being toilet trained before they go is a necessity and an encouragement to toilet train your child. If you are struggling or need some guidance, here are the best ways to encourage your children to use the toilet.
How to Know If Your Child Is Ready
Your child may display some signs that they are ready to begin toilet training, and this can be useful in determining when is the right time. This can vary as every child is different and kids are ready to begin toilet training at different ages, but if your child displays any of the following, it can be a great time to begin, even if preschool is a while away.
If your child is aware they have a wet or dirty nappy, this is a sign they are beginning to understand their toilet habits and not just ignoring them. When they become bothered about a dirty nappy and understand when their brain is telling them to go to the toilet, this can make toilet training a lot easier. There should be at least an hour between wet nappies or toilet training can be almost impossible, so check nappies regularly. Many preschools such as Country Montessori Preschool have toilet training as criteria for entry to preschool, as this is an important part of a transition into the school and learning environment.
Assisting with Toilet Training
Once you are ready to begin toilet training for preschool, there are many things you can do as a parent to make it as easy for your child as possible. As with any routine, children will understand a location means a certain activity, such as sitting at the table means it is dinner time. If you begin to use the bathroom as a place they associate with using the toilet, they are more likely to understand and familiarize themselves with this. If you do not already, start using the bathroom to change nappies so they understand that this is where it should take place. Purchase a potty and keep it in the bathroom. Once you have changed their nappy, allow them to sit on the potty and see if they need to do anything else. This will help them get used to the idea before they begin their toilet training.
Hygiene Whilst Toilet Training
This is a great time to introduce your child to good hygiene techniques when using the toilet and afterward. They need to understand that after the toilet they should wash their hands – and why they should do this. This can prevent your child from being ill as often and can reduce the risks of germs spreading when they do go to preschool and mingle with other children. Showing them how to wipe properly is another important part of toilet training and will ensure they do not dirty their underwear or become smelly. Promoting good hygiene habits from an early age is a great way to ensure they look after themselves their whole lives and these habits do not drop as they get older.
The easiest way to ensure toilet training works well is lots and lots of praise for your child. This should be vocal, such as praising them when they say they need to go to the toilet and when they use their potty instead of their nappy. You should not shout or get angry if your child forgets. This is the hardest time at night, as many children sleep through needing the toilet until they learn to fully understand their body. Use gentle reminders such as reminding them to try and use the potty next time and they will get a reward. Use a reward chart and for each dry nappy they can build up to getting a new toy or a day out. If you are finding that your child is great at toilet training through the day but struggles at night, they may have an underlying problem and may possibly need a bit of extra help in waking up at night. Talk to your doctor about visiting an enuresis clinic to get guidance from a nurse specialized in the subject.
You and your family need to work together to ensure the same encouragement is given, no matter who is looking after your child each day. If there is something big going on in the family, this may not be the right time to begin toilet training, but do not let it put you off forever. The longer your child uses nappies, the more they will be used to it and it can be a hard habit to change. If every adult is saying the same thing, your child is less likely to be confused. Tell grandparents you are beginning toilet training, and siblings too, so if you are not in the room, brothers and sisters can promote the use of the potty rather than the toddler using their nappy.
Every child develops at their own pace and this includes toilet training. If your child is displaying signs of being ready, this can help in the toilet training process. Ask other parents for advice and stick to your guns. A bad day should not mean giving up. It can be hard having sleepless nights and having to wash clothes and bedding more often, but once toilet trained, this can give you and your child more independence and you can save money on nappies. Preschool is a great reason to begin toilet training and having your child ready for preschool will ensure they do not get bullied by the other children and feel more independent.