How to Potty-Train Your Kid
June 22, 2009
Potty-training your child signals the end of diaper-days and nappy-nights. But this milestone varies considerably from child to child. You may start at 18-24 months. Wait till your child shows signs of readiness. He might pause before a bowel movement. Many children imitate elders’ bathroom habits. Begin potty-training only when the child is ready, even if he is four-years old.
Buy a potty or a child’s toilet seat. The child must be able to sit steadily, have a footrest and sit/get-up on his own. Toilet-training picture books or videos often help. Familiarize the child with this new equipment. Sit him fully clothed on the potty once a day, at a time when he usually has a bowel movement. Place it conveniently in the playroom; carry it outdoors. Do not explain anything now. If he refuses to sit, do not force the issue. Try again after a few weeks.Once he is used to the potty, remove his diaper before sitting. Do not force him to perform. Let him feel comfortable and interested.
At this stage, explain the process. Tell him how mummy/daddy/elder sibling undresses before sitting on the toilet, and what they do there. Suggest that he may also deposit a bowel movement or urinate in his potty, just like grown-ups. You can empty his soiled nappy in the bowl and show him where it goes. But remember, some children are scared when they see the flushing. If they refuse, try another time.
Encourage him to use the potty whenever he feels like doing so. Let him play indoors without diapers. Give a helping hand if he asks. Praise successful attempts. Training pants are helpful for some children. Others prefer proper underwear.
Never scold or punish your child if he fails. Put the mess in the toilet/potty bowl and tell him gently that he can do it there next time. Be prepared for setbacks. Bowel and bladder muscle-control is acquired very gradually.
Night training comes many months after daytime dryness. You can start at three years or later. Reduce your child’s fluid intake at bedtime. Keep the potty close to the bed and tell him that he can use it if he wakes up at night. Again, expect setbacks.
Remember, the P in Potty-training also stands for Patience.