Mummy Confession: I get really frustrated with toilet training. Toilet training/Potty training is the most rewarding and frustrating challenge in toddler life, especially when they insist they can do everything on their own. I’ve compiled a list of essentials that may help you as you enter into this battlefield. And watch your step! For signs that your child may be ready to start toilet training, start by reading here.
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1. Toilet. Obviously. Whether you just use your normal toilet and help your child manage it, purchase a potty or potty seat to put on the toilet, you will need something for your child to use. We have a potty and a little seat that goes on the toilet to make it easier if we need to bring the potty with us to another room, just in case! We actually have one that is a 3-in-1 and can be put on the big toilet, on its own little seat, or just used as a step.
2. Underwear. Or pull-ups. Or nothing. Some brave souls use the nappy-free method for training. We were not that adventurous, so we opted for thicker training underpants at night with plastic covers over top, and pull ups for overnight.
3. Steps. Your child, unless you are training over the age of 10, will probably be too short to get to the toilet or sink by themselves. You may want them to need you, but this will not always be the case. It is helpful for them to have a step to reach when they may possibly go without you around. (Cool product: steps attached to a potty seat! So you have both in one!)
4. Toilet Paper/Flushable Wipes. NOT baby wipes. Always ensure you go by the recommendation on the packet, but we use flushable wipes for stinky messes only, as it’s a bit difficult to get everything with toilet paper for the child by themselves. We teach an “only one at a time” policy for flushing these, and make sure to mention how much toilet paper is appropriate, so you don’t wind up with 3/4 of a roll inside.
5. Soap. For hand washing, of course!
6. Endless praise. Your child needs to hear they are doing well, and be endlessly encouraged after doing well especially! This can be given along with bribes.
7. Rewards. This goes hand in hand with praise. But, I have a treat I give for every successful trip to the toilet. Sticker charts work very well, too! Reward for trips to the toilet, dry underpants, dry days/weeks, or going by themselves, and never stop telling them how great it is they are using the bathroom!
Be sure to get yourself a reward, too! It’s hard work trying to teach something like this and managing the accidents!
8. Patience. Like any other milestones, this one especially takes some patience. Maybe your child just isn’t ready? Patience. Maybe your child is just taking a while to learn? Patience. Maybe your child is just missing the cues seconds before and keeps having accidents? Patience.
Obviously, consult your doctor if you have concerns about your child in any way, but sometimes it is just time and patience needed. I hope these will help you as you embark on the journey of potty training.
For further resources, please check out these
My Virtual Medical Centre -Article on toilet training readiness, how to approach setbacks, etc.
Women’s and Children’s Health Network– article on toilet training.