This is the process in which children learn to control the elimination of stool and urine. They need to be mature enough physically and emotionally before they will be ready. Parents cannot rush the process. In order to avoid a struggle with this issue during the “stubborn age” (15 months to 3 years) parents should be encouraging but not try to force toilet training. This is definitely a time that the child is in control.
Signs that your child may be ready for potty training include:
- Being able to sense fullness of the bowel or bladder and be able to let the parent know.
- Being able to sit on the toilet or potty chair without being afraid.
- Being able to understand what it is that you want them to do.
- Awakening from nap or in the morning with a dry diaper.
- Some children are ready to begin between the age of 18 to 24 months but most are between age 2 and 3 when ready to start. Full control may take some children a long time.
- An incentive such as big kid underwear can help get things started.
- When you feel your child is ready take him or her to the toilet frequently at first (every 30-90 minutes depending on how long between voids is normal for the child). This will ensure some successful trips and get the idea across. Stooling occurs most commonly 30 minutes after meals. Encouraging a brief “potty stop” after meals may improve success.
- Praise but don’t pressure your child for successful trips to the toilet.
- Don’t punish for accidents.
- Don’t begin during a time of high stress in the family such as long illness or new sibling.
- Nighttime dryness may take much longer than daytime. Some children “wet the bed” (called primary nocturnal enuresis) for several years.
Suggested reading from our library - - Toilet Learning