You’re about to experience a major milestone in your toddler’s life. While everything may go well, expect a few surprises on the road to potty training! Our mothers used to brag that their babies were potty trained at one year old! While it’s theoretically possible – after all, they did it – it’s not a good idea to force a child before their age comes. There are steps and general rules to follow in the potty-training guide – but there is no guarantee of success, as there are always exceptions to the rule – to ensure that you have the best chance of success.
When to start potty training? It usually starts around 24 months of age. But if your child is trained at around 2.5 years old, it is not necessarily a problem. You don’t have to push your toddler to the average potty-training age. Each child has their own schedule. When we look at the normal age for potty training; first of all, it’s not until the second year of life that a child becomes physically and psychologically mature enough to control their sphincters, which is between 16 and 24 months on average. But it is often between the ages of two and four that toddlers will really engage in this process, which takes between three and six months. How do you know it’s the time? Readiness to be potty trained should not be dictated by a child’s age. Your child must have reached certain developmental milestones before they are ready for this important phase. Speaking, social and motor skills of your child; moreover their bonds with parents should be always considered as the key elements.
Your child is undoubtedly ready when they:
- Can stay dry in a diaper for a long time;
- Can inform you before they need it
- Can track simple directions;
- Can walk to the potty (or to the appropriate seat);
- Is stable and balanced when sitting on the potty
Make sure you have the time and patience to help your child every day and that you can give your child the attention they need. Potty training doesn’t happen overnight, and it depends a lot on the child’s sense of confidence.
It is recommended to start on a potty instead of the toilet at first, because it makes the child feel more secure and stable. The infant potty training also allows the child to adopt the best posture, which helps them feel secure and confident later as well. If a regular toilet is used, provide a suitable seat and a wide, stable stool for their feet. Here you may find some tips for potty training:
- Make sure the potty and the location are easily accessible.
- Don’t be bashful and let the child watch you use the toilet, as they learn a lot by imitation.
- Try to establish a potty routine. With this method, children can learn to control their bladder and bowels within a few weeks, especially if you respect their personal elimination patterns.
- Try to distinguish the signs they show when they need to urinate or defecate. This will help you to guide them to the potty before they escape into the diaper.
- Don’t expect immediate results and be prepared for accidents by staying calm and avoiding threats, punishment and, of course, yelling.
- Take each occasion to encourage and praise your child.
- Do not chastise a child who is experiencing failures and especially do not humiliate them by calling them a “baby lala.” This carries a risk of regressing their development..
- Notify the daycare or any other person who takes care of the child of the process so that everyone is on the same page.
- After a week of repeated successes, you can switch to Pull-Ups/Easy-Ups and celebrate the event in a special way.
- The child who experiences a series of accidents should be able to go back to wearing a diaper if they are a toddler, or potty training pants if they are older, without shame or punishment. Repeat the experience in a few weeks or months when the child is more willing and ready.
- Remind the child not to drink before going to bed.
- Remind them each night to empty their bladder before bed.
- Explain the importance of getting up during the night as soon as they feel the need to urinate.
What If They Refuse Potty Training?
Physical causes of failure to potty training are uncommon. Your child may not be ready. In this case, the parents’ attempts to get the child clean will be futile. The worst position to take is to start a “war” on the training. Not only will the child not respond well to this attitude, but other behavioral problems may be added to the potty problem. If the child is also entrenched in the “no phase”, you will only succeed in putting the two of you against each other and creating an atmosphere of challenge from which no one benefits. Not to mention that the child’s self-esteem will suffer if you are repeatedly disappointed in them.
If the first attempt at the training doesn’t work, it’s usually because your child isn’t ready:
- Some children have difficulty with stopping play and going to the potty. Work around this problem by allowing your child to play or look at a book while sitting on the potty.
- Some children are reluctant to defecate in the potty or toilet if they don’t have good foot support. Improving your child’s comfort may be crucial in this case.
- Your child may be afraid of the “adult” toilet. They may be afraid of falling in, and this fear is reinforced by the sound of the bubbling water and the vacuuming of everything in the toilet. The “disappearance” of excrement in the toilet is sometimes a major psychological trauma for the child who has to “separate from a part of themselves”. The learning process can therefore be facilitated by purchasing a potty adapted to the child’s size.
- If a child refuses to be potty trained, it is best to interrupt the process for one to three months. Once they’ve forgotten about their failed first attempt, most children are ready to start over.
- Constipation can complicate a child’s readiness for toilet training. It’s essential to allow your child to have healthy bowel movements while in diapers to prevent constipation and the resulting tummy aches that will eventually delay the process. It’s so natural you wonder what causes baby constipation.
- Your child may be emotionally delayed or “refusing to grow up”. Realizing that this stage of training is a step into the world of adults, the child may feel anxious and “decide” to stay small. Any major change or stress may prevent the child from becoming potty trained: birth of another child, moving, family difficulties, parental divorce, change of daycare, etc.
In order to sum everything up; let’s look at the main rules of potty training. It is important to respect certain rules, while avoiding certain reflexes that can be counterproductive… Our point is to help your child do their business like a grown-up in complete serenity!
- Respecting their learning rhythm
No training happens overnight, so there’s no need to pressure your child to become trained at the snap of a finger. Respect their rhythm. And remember that the more impatient your child feels, the more stressed they will be and the longer it will take them to be potty trained. A golden rule: patience!
- Don’t take the environment into account
If your child is upset, if they have problems, for example at the nursery with other children, in short, if their emotional life is troubled, their training will certainly be affected too. In this case, don’t pressure them, put it off until later.
- Insist that they stay on the potty
Regularly offer to put your little one on the potty, for example after each meal. But if, after a few minutes, they haven’t gone in their potty, don’t insist: it could block them.
- Choosing a built-in potty
It’s better to choose a free-standing potty (to be placed in the toilet) rather than a potty to be embedded in a chair so that your child doesn’t confuse sitting down to rest or going to the potty.
- Using the potty as a punishment
Wondering how to introduce the potty? It’s extremely essential that, under no circumstances may you use the baby potty as a punishment or threat. Going to the corner is a punishment, the potty is not. So don’t use it as a way to get some peace and quiet, or when you want your child to stop horsing around.
- Diapering them until he’s potty trained
Once potty training has begun, it’s best to give up diapers little by little. If they wet their pants, they will be more embarrassed than if they wet their diapers, so this will encourage them to stay dry.
- Forcing a little boy to pee sitting down
From the age of 2 and a half or 3, a little boy is perfectly capable of peeing standing up. There is no reason to prevent him from doing so: on the contrary, he will be proud of it and it will facilitate his potty training.
- Getting them up during the night
It is useless and even harmful to force a child to get up while they are sleeping. It won’t help them get trained any faster, and they will often have trouble going back to sleep. So leave them alone, even if it means putting a diaper on them during the night for a while.