Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Identify the signs:
Children will often demonstrate signs when they are ready to be toilet trained. These signs include:
Interest in the bathroom or in the toileting process, which includes wanting to visit the bathroom
playing pretend toileting, touching toilet paper, or being curious about how the toilet flushes
Wanting to observe others using the bathroom
Reporting to a caregiver when they have gone in a diaper and/or asking to wear underwear
Starting to “hold” their urine or bowel movement and/or getting upset when a diaper is soiled typically around 18 months-3 years old toileting interest emerge
Children to learn their body and the cues it is gives them to know when to go. Successful established routines are the following:
When waking up
Before and after naptime
Before and after a new play activity
Before a meal
Before leaving the house for an event
Toileting takes time to learn. Patience is the key. Do not rush a child. Children may need to sit for a bit to be successful.
The bathroom can be a scary place with lots of noises, sensations, and smells. Some strategies to encourage waiting and decrease fears are the following:
Placing items needed for toileting, such as toilet paper, within easy reach, and having a sturdy stool nearby to help the child get onto the toilet
Allowing the child to do an activity while on the toilet, like reading a favorite book.
Talking to the child about how cool the toilet is to decrease fear
Placing brightly colored towels and fun character soaps at the sink to make hand washing fun.
Adding inviting and uplifting smells
Adapting the toilet seat so the child feels secure. Character or bright potty chair, potty ring, or foot rest.
Running the sink water to initiate pottying
Singing a favorite song or learning a potty song to help relax
Copyright © 2014 by the American Occupational Therapy Association
We all like to be rewarded for being successful. Food is not always necessary but can be a good encourager. There are alternatives if you desire to explore them such as stickers, stamps on a paper (letting the child stamp it), getting a prize out a bucket of collectibles you have put together of goodies.
In summary… Don’t give up, keep it fun and comfortable for your child and remember, potty toys should only be for potty time and potty rewards should be AWESOME!
What has been your experience? Leave comments below.