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CHILDREN'S HEALTH

 

Toilet Training for Child

 

Many parents worry about toilet training their young children. Most of the time parents will know when their children are ready. However parents should not rush toilet training nor should they have unrealistic expectations. Patience is key! Most children are ready to begin toilet learning between the ages of 2 and 4 years but certainly not before the age of 2. Remember, each child is different. It takes between 3 and 6 months before your child is out of diapers for good.
Signs that a child is ready to be toilet trained:
  • The child can walk to the potty (or adapted toilet seat)
  • The child can steadily sit on the potty
  • The child's diaper remains dry for a few hours in a row
  • The child can follow simple instructions
  • The can let you know when he/she needs to "go" Back to top

    Helping your child during this period This does not have to be a rushed or stressful time. A relaxed approach is best. Here are some helpful tips adapted from The American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Be patient and don't worry about accidents: they WILL happen
  • Share the same consistent approach with other care givers, like the grandparents, baby sitter or day care staff
  • If you don't use a potty(which is preferable), a toilet seat adapter and a footstool will be necessary
  • Make sure the potty is in a place that your child can get to easily
  • In order to help your child get used to the potty, let him/her sit on it while fully dressed. Then he/she can sit on it after the wet diaper has been removed
  • To show your child what a potty is used for, put a dirty diaper in it
  • Take your child to the potty several times each day and encourage him/her to sit on it for a few minutes without wearing a diaper
  • Encourage your child to tell you when he/she needs to go and praise him/her(even if it is too late)
  • Learn and watch for the signs that he/she needs to go
  • Develop a routine by having your child sit on the potty at specific times during the day, such as after getting up in the morning, after meals or snacks, before naps and before bedtime.THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. IT WILL ASSURE A REGULAR ROUTINE AND AVOID FUTURE PROBLEMS.
  • Praise your child often BUT NEVER punish your child when accidents happen or things don't go smoothly
  • When your child has used the potty successfully for at least a week, try cotton underpants or training pants Back to top

    How do you teach your child to use the toilet?

    After your child has become comfortable with flushing the toilet and sitting on the potty chair, you may begin teaching your child to go to the bathroom. Keep your child in loose, easily removable pants. Place your child on the potty chair whenever he or she signals the need to go to the bathroom. Your child's facial expression may change when he or she feels the need to urinate or to have a bowel movement. Your child may stop any activity he or she is engaged in when he or she feels the need to go to the bathroom. Most children have a bowel movement once a day, usually within an hour after eating. Most children urinate within an hour after having a large drink.

    In addition to watching for signals that your child needs to urinate or have a bowel movement, place your child on the potty at regular intervals. This may be as often as every 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Stay with your child when he or she is on the potty chair. Reading or talking to your child when he or she is sitting on the potty may help your child relax. Praise your child when he or she goes to the bathroom in the potty chair, but do not express disappointment if your child does not urinate or have a bowel movement in the potty. Be patient with your child.

    What if toilet training/learning doesn't work? If the first try was not succesful or the child refuses to use the potty, it's usually because he/she was not ready. Take a break from the training for a couple of months. Do not make a big deal out of it. The more you are stressed about this the more your child will have difficulty. If your child refuses to go in a potty or the toilet, let him/her have bowel movements in a diaper to prevent constipation. Constipation resulting from holding it in, can make going to the bathroom painful, something that will certainly make toilet training more difficult. Back to top

    When to seek help? Talk to your doctor if:

  • Your child still refuses after several tries or
  • Your child is older than 4 years of age Back to top
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