Top 10 tips for toilet training

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

Toilet training can be a tedious task, I’m sure any parent would agree with me! If you are having trouble getting your little one to make the leap and use a toilet, these top 10 tips could help:

1. Involve them

Take your toddler to the shops with you to buy the potty or training seat and let them pick some training pants or underwear. Your child will feel like they have control over their toilet training and they might even get a little excited about it.

2. Ease them into it

Start by taking them out of nappies for a few hours a day, then putting them back on. Let them build confidence using training pants or underwear before ditching the nappies completely. Allow them to sleep in nappies for now.

3. Normalise it

Teach them words like ‘wee’ and ‘poo’ and explain what they mean and when to use them. Assure them that it’s normal and not to be embarrassed.

4. Establish a routine

Sit them on the potty or toilet at regular intervals throughout the day to encourage them to go. For example, after breakfast, before a nap and after a bath. Also, get in the habit of regularly asking if they need to go to remind them.

5. Set an example

Allow them to watch you use the toilet and talk them through the process of how you knew you needed to go, what to do, how to wipe and to wash your hands. It will be much easier for them to learn if they can copy what you’re doing.

6. Don’t be forceful

Being forceful will evoke fear of the toilet. You can encourage them, but if they really don’t want to go then don’t force them. Avoid sitting them on the toilet for more than 5 minutes, or it will seem like a punishment.

7. Make it fun

Choose a fun song to play when they go to the toilet, let them choose some new books that they can only read when they sit on the toilet or put food colouring in the toilet water so they can watch the colour change when they go.

8. Reward them

Every time they successfully go to the toilet, let them put a sticker on a chart, pick a movie to watch or play a game with them. This will give them an incentive to learn.

9. Be encouraging

Constantly praise your child on their efforts and avoid being negative if they can’t go or have an accident. Your support is really important during this stage.

10. Feed them well

A constipated child will have more trouble using the toilet than a child who can pass bowel movements easily. Ensure your child is eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and having enough water.

For more tips and advice about babies and children, download our free guide “Sick of your child being sick?”

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