Tips & Tricks To Potty Train Your Child
Make sure both you and your child are ready. Before potty training your child, you must be prepared to set aside the time in which you will devote all your attention and focus on your child. Don’t be in a hurry. You have not failed Parenting 101 if your baby is last in class to be dry.
Most children are ready to begin potty training between the age 2 and 3. I was ambitious and started Sonia when she was 18-month-old. Just as I was near to success, I sent her to school and all my past effort went down the drain. WHY? Because there were too much going on around her – (1) she was trying to adapt to a new school environment; and (2) I was pregnant with her little brother. She probably felt too overwhelmed to tackle these new challenges.
I started potty training her again when she was about two-year-old. This time round, I felt she was more ready. Here are some things to look out for:
- Your child will tell you when her diaper is soiled
- Your child will tell you right before she is about to pee or when she is in action
- Your child diaper stays dry for about two hours at a time during the day
- Bowel movements come at regular times
- You may notice your child making a face before peeing or pooping
- Your child is more independent and wants to do things for themselves or have it done their way
READ FUN PICTURE BOOKS ABOUT TOILET TRAINING
A month before potty training Sonia, I read a potty training book by Serena Geddes to her. She was able to “flush” by pressing the button on the book. That got her excited about flushing the real toilet bowl, and subsequently, the idea of using the toilet bowl.
I encourage Sonia by making a HUGE deal each time she tells me that she needs to pee or poo. Even if she tells me after she had wet her pants, I will praise her and thank her for letting me know and encourage her to let me know before it happens.
START A ROUTINE
If I were to ask Sonia “do you need to pee”, her answer will usually be “no”. So just sit your child on the toilet bowl until she pees, or for a reasonable amount of time, say 3 minutes. If your child did pee, take her to the toilet again in an hour time, if not, bring her to the toilet again in 30 minutes.
DRINK LOTS OF FLUIDS
What comes in, goes out. If your child is not drinking enough fluid, why will you expect output without input? Anyway, getting hydrated is good for your child. So drink lots of fluid.
By ‘comfortable clothes’, I meant clothes that are easy to get on and off. I wouldn’t dress my girl in a jumper. Get the picture? During our toilet training days, she is usually in a dress and pulls up a knicker. You can get her to pick some knickers to buy and make a BIG deal of her becoming a big girl. It worked for Sonia. The key is to make her feel good about being a BIG girl.
USE A TOILET TRAINING SEAT
Allow your child to feel in-charge. By siting on a toilet training seat, she didn’t need me holding her on the toilet bowl and that made her felt like a ‘big girl’.
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, IT’S FINE
Don’t get upset over accidents. Just clean up and move on. But don’t ignore the ‘accident’. Use this opportunity to explain to your child, why she should pee in the toilet bowl and not on the floor. Big girls go to the toilet, not wet their pants.
My rewards are no more than praises and affirmation. My acknowledgement was enough for Sonia, but remember, not all kids are the same. Some might need a packet of chocolate or some kind of incentive. I’m almost certain when Arnold is ready for potty training, he will ask for food.
WEAR DIAPERS AT NIGHT UNTIL YOUR CHILD IS READY
During the first three months of potty training, I omit diapers in the day but continue to wear diaper to bed. During that period, I continue to potty train her but I don’t want to be washing mattresses every other night. If she soiled her diapers at night, I would talk to her in the morning and show her the soiled diapers. Then tell her it would be nice if she could get up and tell mama she wants to go to the toilet. I know the textbooks will tell you not to play the guilt game but I’m guilty of this. I made her felt bad about soiling her diapers and that mama would be upset (but it worked for me, because she really didn’t want mama to be upset). On days that she woke me up to go to the toilet at night, I sang praises, and again, made it a BIG BIG deal. After about three months, she was ready to go diaper-less! Hurray! BUT there were still the occasional accidents. We all learn from mistakes. Today, I’m please to share that we have ditched the diapers entirely (since she was 2.5 years old)!!!
FOOD & DRINKS TO AVOID
Avoid food and drinks that act as stimulants such as chocolate, sugar and caffeine, particularly in the hours before bedtime.
MAKE YOUR CHILD FEEL PROUD
I will praise Sonia in front of our family and make her feel really proud of herself! When she feels that she is doing something right, she wants to do it right all the time.
Of course I faced setbacks. I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Potty training Sonia had cause me much stress, fatigue, pressure, and happiness. I felt stressed when things aren’t working, fatigue after waking up multiple times in the night to either take her to the toilet or wash her soiled mattress and clothes, pressured when she doesn’t perform the way I wished she did, and happy when she finally slept through the night without wetting her pants.
FIRST THREE MONTHS
I would diligently ask if she needed the toilet every hour. Even when we were out in the day, I did not want to rely on diapers. Often, she would tell me that she needed the toilet at the last hour, and I had to whisk her off, finding the nearest toilet available. Sometimes we made it to the toilet on time, and other times, we were too late. I always had to bring a fresh set of clothes for her (for times like this). Trips to the malls weren’t as fun anymore. I’m always on stand-by, waiting to send her to the toilet. It was challenging, but worth it.
THE NEXT THREE MONTHS
I think she got used to the routine and could better control her bladder. I stop having to dash across the malls finding the nearest toilet. In fact, I had no problems with her in the day. She would tell me when she needed to go to the toilet and give me enough time to walk her there. But night time was still a challenge. It took a lot of discipline, reminders, motivations and encouragements, but again, all was worth the effort.
I felt like I’ve struck lottery, only even better. She had ditched the diapers altogether! There were about 5 or 6 busy nights but other than that, we had dry quiet nights! The number of disturbed nights decreases as the months go by, thankfully. And today, I would say, perhaps 2 busy nights a month. Don’t be discourage. Be positive. It will get better. Accident is part of learning too!
Over the past 3 years, I’ve bought 4 different types of toilet training seats, and my favourite is my latest snatch – the BUMBO!
- Love Lucky Baby Ritzy Potty bought from Kiddy Palace
This was my first buy and is the one that I regretted buying the minute I started using it. First, it wasn’t comfortable to sit on. The ergonomic is just wrong. Second, there were just too many pieces to a potty – a cover lid, a removable insert, and the chair frame. Too much hassle, too many things to wash and too bulky to keep.
- 2-in-1 Potette Plus bought from Mothercare
It can be used on our toilet seat or by itself as a folding potty seat (you will need to place a disposable liner over it). Potette Plus has a non-slip base for safety but wasn’t very steady and comfortable to sit on. My kids’ bum went pinky-red after siting for mere minutes. It was however easy to clean and very portable but when I try using it by its own, it wasn’t feasible. The potty seat when used by itself is too low and if my child were to pee or poo, she would probably be sitting on her own pee or poo.
- Tossig bought from IKEA
This one-piece toilet training seat has an anti-slip material on the underside to keep it firmly in place. Easy to clean and keep but like the previous toilet training seats, it was hard and uncomfortable to sit on. Sonia would prefer that I hold her on the toilet bowl seat then to sit on the toilet training seat.
- Bumbo bought from Takashimaya
Why it’s a winner?
It is a one-piece toilet training seat. My favourite so far, only because both my kids like it! The Bumbo seat easily fit on our toilet seat with nothing to attach or remove. Soft and spongy, and easy to clean. And above all, the contoured seat provides support and security for my kids. They love it!
So, which is your favourite? Mine is the Bumbo toilet training seat!!!
I hope the above information are useful to you. Have fun toilet training your toddler! Remember, start toilet training your child only when you are able to devote your time to it. There need to be consistency. Good luck!