Professionals have varied opinions on how to potty-train a toddler. My methods are just based on my own experience and the experience of the many mothers who have consulted me about potty training.
I believe that successful potty training in the first year of the toddler’s life means that the mother and/or the caretaker are successfully trained and not the toddler!
The best time to start is when the toddler can understand and can respond to instruction. This can be any time from about eighteen months to two years plus.
When you have decided to start the process, make sure that you have the time to do so for a couple of days. (Working parents try to take a couple of days off work).
You are about to lose any privacy you may have enjoyed hitherto. Ideally mother or father takes the toddler with them to the toilet so that the toddler can see and attempt to copy what is done in the toilet.
Single mothers are at a disadvantage when training a little boy (an older male child or ‘father figure’ can be used if available).
The trip to the toilet must be fun, preferably a game, and not a chore.
In the first few days the toilet trips must be frequent because the ‘busy toddler’ forgets about bodily functions and needs to be reminded.
Every two hours a toilet visit should occur. A story book and a fluffy toy (eg. Teddy, doll, bunny etc ) and a potty form part of the toilet procession.
Mother sits on the toilet, doll or teddy is positioned on a toilet roll (or a suitable container) and the toddler sits on the potty. Mother reads the book for as long as she has the toddler’s attention. Afterwards mother checks to see who has been successful. The doll/ teddy is checked, and the toddler is checked. If the potty has contents in it then a fuss must be made. Praise must be lavished; hugs and an occasional treat can be given.
Plenty of patience is required, because at first something will happen in the potty by accident and not intention.
No matter how annoying, after all your efforts, don’t show any irritation when success is not achieved.
If toddler shows any signs of a negative response then stop the whole process and resume in a few days, or even weeks.
As soon as the toddler understands what the procedure is about, it becomes much easier and success is inevitable.
It will also be easier if the toddler can take off his/her own ‘training panty’.
The little one will first be dry during the daytime.
Night time control will take a little longer (sometimes only months later).
Accidents will occur every now and again and you, the parent, must handle it gently and with patience.
When the toddler produces a dry nappy in the morning, don’t forget to praise with hugs, kisses and the occasional treat.
Toddlers, as do we all, love to please and enjoy the ‘reward’.
© Teresa Denton