Toilet training is a big step for young children. I’s also an undertaking for parents. Toilet training is not an overnight accomplishment. It can take three to six months (or more). So, what’s the secret to success? It’s patience and timing.
When Your Child is Ready
Pay attention to to developmental and behavioral milestones to help your child be successful at toilet training. Your child is ready to start when they can do many of these things:
- Can sit on the toilet
- Can pull down / up pants
- Are interested in using the toilet and wearing “big kid” underwear
- Can use words related to going potty
- Follow basic directions
- Stays dry for two or more hours
- Your child’s bowel movements become more regular
Prepare for Training
If your child is showing multiple signs of readiness, plan to devote time and energy for toilet learning. Make sure all caregivers are aware and have the same mindset. Here are tips for training:
- Buy a child-size potty chair or a child-size cushion to place on a regular toilet.
- Provide time for your child to sit on the toilet and talk to them about what happens when you sit on the toilet.
- Be consistent with the words used (potty, poop, etc.).
- Purchase “big kid” underwear.
- Avoid clothes like overalls that are hard to take off.
- Schedule bathroom breaks and make it part of your routine – use the toilet after waking from a nap.
- Ask your child to sit on the toilet if they are squirming or crossing their legs and get to the bathroom fast!
- Praise all attempts to use the toilet.
- Expect accidents and be prepared and assure your child it’s okay and learning something new takes lots of practice.