Toilet Training

10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ series offers tips for parents on toilet training. There’s no doubt that this is a big milestone for both parent and child and it can seem daunting. There is no exact age to begin as every child is different but when you can tell your child is ready – for example, if they are sometimes dry after naps, have some awareness of bodily functions and can communicate them, and are showing an interest or curiosity – you may find our 10 tips helpful:

  1. Are you ready?: As a parent, you must be ready too. You must be ready to acknowledge your child is ready for toilet training, that he or she is not a baby anymore. A new stage has been reached.
  2. Set the date: Once you are sure both you and your child are ready to start, then name the day and get organised.
  3. Be organised: Plan to start when you have at least 3 days at home with your child. Have the potty in place. Talk with your child about how big they are getting and how they soon won’t need nappies anymore.
  4. Involve your child: Bring your child to the shops for a toilet step and pants. Tell them again how big they are getting and how proud you are of them.
  5. Be rigid: For the first 3-5 days, the parent must take the lead. Try to stay home and every 20 minutes on the dot take your child to the toilet. Don’t ask them if they need to go to the toilet, tell them it is time to check. They may complain but play a game with them or sing songs on the toilet so they enjoy the experience.
  6. Child led: After 3-5 days of the parent taking the lead, allow the child to start taking the lead. Remind them and encourage them. Have the potty in the room near where they are playing. Keep their clothes simple to help them make it on time. You will move out to the toilet in the coming weeks.
  7. Be positive: Praise your child for the effort and the success. Do not focus on the accidents. If there are many, simply go back to taking the child every 20 minutes rigidly.
  8. Night time: Encourage your child to wear a pull up at night. But soon you may find they will wake at night and want to use the toilet. Once they object to the nappy, leave it off and encourage them to go to the toilet. Always use toilet before bedtime. Have a ‘no drinks for at least 1 hour prior to bed’ rule. Don’t allow drinks during the night either unless they are unwell.
  9. Travel Potty: Bring the potty wherever you go. On a walk, in the car, on the bus to the shops. Make it easy for your child to succeed. You won’t make it to a public toilet on time and it may not be suitable for them. Bring the potty in a bag and use it. They will gain better control as time goes on.
  10. Stop confusing your child: Don’t put nappies on them when going out. Have faith in your child’s ability to tell you they need to use the potty. You are confusing them otherwise. Are they a baby or are they all grown up? Trust them and let them be responsible.

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Positively Maintaining Contact, 10 Ways to Understand How Your Child May Feel and 10 Ways to Problem Solving.

One Family offers a range of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.