When to start toilet training?
The Christmas holidays can be a good time to start toilet training your toddler. With the warmer weather and with most parents taking some time off, now is the perfect time to start. But where to start? We quite often hear parents mention that their child isn’t a certain ‘age’ yet, so they’re not ready. You can start the toilet training process at any age, but when will the time be right to take off the nappy for good? That will depend on a few things. Look for the following cues which will help with a smoother transition from nappies to undies:
- Are they showing an interest in the toilet or potty?
- Do they signal to you when they have wet or soiled their nappy?
- Do they continually try (or successfully) to take of their nappy?
- Do they watch you or older siblings use the toilet?
- Can they communicate well enough to be able to tell you they need to go?
Whenever your toddler starts showing an interest in the toilet, including watching you and wanting to copy you. Don’t restrict their exploration/interest in using the toilet, purchase a toddler toilet seat early so you’re prepared for when your little one wants to try sitting on there.
It will work better if your toddler has the language or communication skills to let you know when they want to go to the toilet. Gaining these skills can start early on in the baby stage, if your little one does a wee or a poop while you’re changing them or while playing without a nappy on, talk to them and use the words you will use when asking them if they want to go to the toilet.
For example, baby does a wee while you’re changing, you could say “you’re doing a wee, when you’re finished we can clean you up and put on a dry nappy”. They may not really understand what you’re saying, but when you consistently say it, they will make the association earlier and it will help in the next stage.
Now when it comes time for your toddler to use the toilet and you say to them, would you like to use the toilet, they may not understand. You could say ‘lets go to the toilet so you can do a wee, just like mummy and daddy’. By using the word wee (or any word that you would like to use) helps them understand better what you’re asking. Otherwise they might think mummy wants to go play in the toilet!
If you want to use a different word like ‘wee wee’ ‘pee’ ‘whiz’ ‘leak’ etc… make sure you’re consistent with your language from an early age when talking with your child about this.
When baby follows you to the toilet, let them watch and talk to them about what you’re doing. ‘Saying mummy is doing a wee’, the toilet is where the wee and poo should go. Keeping it all pleasant and normal will help create a good mental space for your child about using the toilet.
While we’re discussing keeping it pleasant, let’s talk poo. From an early age it’s really important that you keep it light and fun with the poo. If you’re disgusted or act disgusted by your baby’s poo then you will set them up to be the same and they can struggle to normalise the process. I would make some fun when it was a smelly one and always smiled and joked about it.
Also by taking toddlers to the toilet with you to flush their poo from the nappy into the toilet. Saying along the lines of, this is where the poo goes. Again making fun of it going into the toilet, when you have ‘ploppers’ having a little giggle about the ‘plop, plop’ noise can help reduce their fears of sitting on the toilet and it going plopping in when they do it.
Just remember the earlier you start this process the better, plenty of nappy off time, explanation and fun will help make a smoother transition from nappies to undies. So start practicing your toilet song and dance now so you’re ready to celebrate with your toddler after they do their first wee and poo in the potty or toilet.
Our toilet training pants can help in the early stages of toilet training when you need to go out or if you have carpet at home. They help the children feel wet