Authored By: Dr. Preeti Sharma

Sr. Consultant Paediatrician

Toilet training success depends more on the physical, behavioural, emotional and cognitive readiness of the child, rather than a particular age.

  • Most children are ready for toilet training by 18 – 24 months.
  • But some children might not be ready even up to 2.5 years or older.
  • Starting toilet training before the child is ready can result in more problems and a longer time.

 Pointers that child is ready for toilet training –

  • Dry periods of 2 hours or more during daytime.
  • Dislikes the feeling of wet or dirty diaper.
  • Can pull pants up and down.
  • Indicates bowel movement through words, expressions, posture.
  • Sits on the toilet chair without resistance.
  • Can follow simple instructions.

Toilet training can be started if most of the above pointers are present.

Steps to toilet training –

  • Toilet seat – Use a comfortable potty chair or special adapter toilet seat that can be placed on the regular toilet seat. The feet of the child should be placed on a stool if they are not able to touch the floor.
  •  Communication – Child should be encouraged to use the seat. He/she should be told repeatedly how everybody else in the house uses the toilet.
  • Observation – Child should be allowed to observe other family members while they are using the toilet.
  •  In the beginning have your child sit on the seat for few minutes several times a day with the clothes on, especially during the times when a bowel movement is expected. After the child is comfortable, start seating them bare bottomed.
  • Toilet routine – Accompany the child every time in the beginning. Read a potty training book or use a special toy when your child is using the toilet seat.
  • As soon as child indicates bowel movement, he/she should be immediately taken to the toilet. This helps them in developing an association between bowel movement and toilet.
  • Rewards – Praise the child or use some incentives for using the potty.
  • No diapers – After the child has used the toilet successfully many times, he/she should be kept without diapers during daytime.
  • Night time training – is more difficult to achieve and can take a much longer time. Child should be allowed to sleep in diapers at night. Gradually, much after day time control is achieved the child should be encouraged to wake up at night for passing urine/stools.
  • Urinating in boys – First teach boys to urinate sitting down. After they have learnt that, then teach them to urinate in standing position.
  • Never scold or embarrass child. – Occasionally child may not use the toilet especially when he/she is absorbed in some activity or in an unfamiliar place.

Take it easy – If even after few weeks of trying your child is not able to use the toilet or is resisting to do so, do not worry. Stop the toilet training for few months and then restart.

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