A Milestone in Independence
Toilet training is most effective if it is delayed until the child can control much of the process.Learning to use the toilet is a process that affects the relationship between parent and child. Because parents are often intensely invested in the results, toilet learning can become an area of child-parent power struggles and conflict.
Questions to Ask
- Do you know the signs of toilet-learning readiness?
- Do you think your child is ready for toilet training? What makes you think so?
- Do you feel pressure to toilet train her?
- Do you have a potty chair, potty training seat, or step stool for your child?
- How is your child’s toilet training progressing?
- Help parents recognize the signs of toilet-learning readiness.
- Using the guidance listed below, describe the steps parents can take to help their child learn how to use the toilet.
Guidance for Parents
- It is best to delay toilet training your child until she is ready. Begin toilet training when your child:
- Is dry for about 2 hours at a time
- Knows the difference between wet and dry
- Can pull her pants up and down
- Wants to learn
- Can tell you when she is about to have a bowel movement
- The following tips will help toilet training go more smoothly:
- Use a potty chair that sits on the floor
- Dress your child in easy-to-remove pants
- Establish a daily routine
- Be relaxed and read or sing songs while she is on the potty
- Children need to use the toilet more often than adults—up to 10 times a day. Place your child on the potty every 1 to 2 hours. Plan for frequent toilet breaks when you’re traveling with your child, even if you are out for just a short time.
- Accept the fact that your child will have accidents while she is learning. Don’t make her feel bad or punish her when she makes a mistake. Praise her each time she uses the toilet.
- It’s hard to start toilet training during times of change or high stress. Wait a while to start training if you have a new baby in your home, if there’s been a change in your child care situation, or if your family is in the process of moving.