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by Waqar Ali Ali 15 Oct 2019 0 Comments

Right Age to Start Toilet Training

It is better to wait for the right age to start with toilet training which for an average toddler is 2 to 2.5 years. A 12 to 18 months’ toddler is still not ready because his body yet is not ready. He is unable to recognize the need and right time and not yet in control to hold it till you take him to the toilet. They feel comfortable with diapers as they were used to being babies and don’t see any issue with their diapers being smelly or if some of their poop is out from diapers while they are busy playing.

The early exceptions are always there who accept this during 12 to 18 months of age. However on average they can better learn this at age of 2 to 2.5 years. If you have an exception around in extended family or in older sibling, please be aware not to compare your toddler with the exceptions and try to train early forcefully. It is neither good for the toddler nor would bring any ease to you. You will rather find this more hectic and stress full. You may try at early age like 12 or 15 months however be ready to accept the reality as if it doesn’t work out then allow your toddler and yourself more time and wait till 2 to 2.5 years before you think of starting the toilet training.

It is understandable that sometimes certain pressures compel parents to do it early.  This is more experienced by those living in extended or joint families or working mothers. The social pressure of joint family where others judge you based on how you are handling and grooming your own children leads to anxiety. Similarly for working mothers they like their toddlers to be trained as early as possible because they have to rely on baby sitters or day care facility. Baby sitters could show a causal behavior in taking any pain to train and also timely change of diapers. The day care may expect your toddler to be trained so they don’t have to handle the diapers. You need to learn that your child is most important and every child is different so don’t stress yourself and your child with such unnecessary pressures.

Learning can start early to develop interest and habit

It is true that time of training comes later. You can however start exposing your child to the toilet environment. You may buy a nice looking child potty chairs or toilet seat cover to develop your child’s interest whilst guiding him that soon he will have to leave diapers and start using toilets like adults.

You need to also guide your child that pee and poop are natural needs of all human beings and there is nothing shameful, secret, exciting or mysterious about it.

Toilet Training

“Its form of their toilet training that children get some of their feeling that one way of doing things is right and another is not”. Dr. Robert Needlman

Push and force are not the ways to train. You need to be patient and use positivity as your tool. Understand your child, his motivations and level of maturity to guide your training strategy. No one likes to be insulted so push and force are more seen as an insult by the toddlers too.

Signs of Readiness:

Toddlers enjoy their independence since it is first step where from babies when they needed their parents for everything to the next stage where they are able to move around themselves, eat with their hands and manage their toys tiding up themselves etc. This increases their confidence in themselves as they feel pleased of their ability to handle things on their own.

The age of training comes around 2 years but the signs of readiness start developing between 18 to 24 months. They show urge of being cleaned as soon as possible after the poop. There are exceptions always for both being bit early and bit late so some may continue playing until you notice it yourself. These attitudes are difference in different children. You being parent can therefore see where your toddler stands and manage the training steps accordingly.

Training Approach

If you wait for the right age and readiness within themselves, the training becomes easier. You wouldn’t be required to force or punish them. They would learn that this is how it has to be. You should encourage and appreciate them when they use toilet properly but don’t shout or make them ashamed when they accidently fail and do it while running towards the toilet or in front of toilet door. This shows that they made an effort but didn’t fully succeed. You could tell them that they would be able to handle it well the next time.

The children get trained the use of toilet during day by the age of 2 to 2.5 years and at night around 3 to 4 years.

Toilet Seat Cover vs Potty Chair

You can buy a child size toilet seat cover that fits on your regular toilet seat but be mindful that at early age of 2 to 2.5 years, children don’t feel relaxed with regular seats being high for their heights. You should buy along with seat cover also a stool that he can use as stair to climb up and seat on the toilet seat.

For beginning, a potty chair will serve you and your child much better than the seat cover of regular toilet seat. They would feel more secure while sitting on a chair that is more customized to their size and height. For boys, don’t buy urine guard that comes with seat. It will hurt them while sitting and getting up so he would be reluctant to use it and this may end up in resistance to be trained.

Stage 1: Let your Toddler get Familiarize

Let your child familiarize him with the new stuff i.e., potty chair/child toilet seat cover. It is a different experience and initially he may not feel comfortable taking off diapers and pants and sit on the chair/seat. Just guide him that this is a new routine that he is expected to adopt since he is growing to the next stage in his life. Let him sit with pants on just to get comfortable till he accepts to sit taking off his diaper and pants.

Stage 2: Start Gradually, Allow Time, Don’t Force

When he gets comfortable sitting on the chair then you can explain the next step that from now on he can use this for the pee and poop. It is common that initially the pee and poop stops in some children when they sit on the chair/seat. You may find it a lame excuse but this is very natural that adaptation to new routine impacts them psychologically. Don’t be harsh and allow them time for trying next time and next time and next time. Remember that being parent you need to keep your patience to achieve your goals. Similarly if they try sitting in but don’t feel the bowel movement and need for poop, you can allow them to leave after sometime, which means few minutes. Don’t make them sit long, this may frighten them more and can then work in opposite rather where they may show more resistance. So listen to them, allow them space, trust them with their reasons and this would all work fine ultimately.

He may require some actual demonstration to actually understand this. It is helpful with older siblings because he can observe his older siblings. Otherwise you may request your siblings who have older kids to help your toddler see a practical demonstration. There is nothing to feel shy about it as for some kids understanding and acceptance of new ideas are based on practical learning. Their minds sometimes are unable to just understand the guidance and act upon it.

It doesn’t take too long. It is matter of couple of days to maximum one week.

Stage 3: Your toddler is Ready but would need some Assistance

Your toddler is trained now but being very young would need your assistance in taking off his pants, getting him cleaned and also cleaning his potty chair or flushing off the regular toilet seat. The average frequency of poop is once or twice daily and for pee during the day time is 4 to 5 times. You, your baby sitter or care provider at day care need to help until he is able to manage all on his own.

Don’t forget to acknowledge and appreciate when he comes to you to ask you to take him to the toilet. You must express your confidence and trust in him as that boosts his confidence and trust in himself.

Washing Private Parts and Hands after Toilet

An important part is washing your parts and hands which toddlers don’t mind skipping as they don’t see any issue if they don’t do it. Few times it could be due to access with hand showers and taps. You therefore need to attend your toddler yourself to develop this habit. Guide them the hygienic and religious importance of washing their parts and hands after using toilet.

Hand washing should be performed properly. However since it takes around quarter of a minute or 15 – 20 seconds so kids avoid it and try to do it hastily. You can monitor your child and get him into habit of doing it properly while guiding the benefits of hand washing. It may help to ask him talking to himself while looking in the mirror, follow hand washing steps, sing finger family rhyme or any other rhyme of his choice or one of your own made up rhyme to help spend these few seconds.

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