Some parents feel that their child should be ‘toilet trained’ because their friend’s child of the same age is toilet trained. Like learning to walk and all the other things we do in life, we all do it in our own time. So don’t put pressure on yourself or your child. I haven’t heard of an 18 year old wearing a nappy! So have faith your child will do this in their own time and sooner than later if you don’t make a fuss. We have a process at day care that ensures it’s an easy/natural progression for the child. However, I have had children start at this day care at the age of 3 years, and although rare, some have had huge emotional issues over toileting, so it’s really important that we go about this gently, gently… We will help you to ensure this is easy.
STAGE 1: ROUTINE
After morning tea at 10am we take your child to the little low toilets and pop them on the toilet without any fuss. We then lift them off after they have had a ‘try’ and pop on fresh pull up if necessary. Again this is done prior to lunch at 11.45. Straight after lunch the children have a story and have rest time. When they awake, again they are popped straight on the toilet before they have afternoon tea (between 2-2.30pm).
STAGE 2: CATCHING
Please understand we will be only ‘catching’ the wee at this stage. So don’t be tempted to keep asking the child ‘do you need to go to the toilet’ as they may not be very aware of these ‘feelings associated with needing’ but they are often able to hold their wee and when we place them on the toilet they just release their muscles and the wee comes out! Thus this is only the first stage of learning to toilet themselves, i.e. I’m placed on the toilet and I let my wee go. The first time we hear wee in the toilet bowl we all applaud and celebrate their achievement with them!
STAGE 3: AWARENESS
If we place a child on the toilet and their nappy is always wet, it just means your child has not develop strong enough muscles yet to hold their wee. We can still continue to pop them on the toilet so they feel part of the group and are doing what everyone else is doing. We know we are starting to get to stage somewhere when the child has more often a dry nappy when we pop them on the toilet and they release wee into the toilet bowl regularly.
STAGE 4: SUCCESS
Once we know a child is constantly dry between toileting we know we are well on the way to them toileting themselves. At this stage we hold back from popping them on the toilet and we just ask them once, at each of the toileting times if they might like to go and if they say no, we just wait for them to tell us that they need to go.
STAGE 5: UNDERPANTS & REST NAPPY
Once a child has reached the stage of being aware they want to go to the toilet and not having accidents in their pull ups, it’s time to move on to underpants. We ask that parents then to purchase underpants. For the girls please no tiny nickers, as we want to ensure your child’s privacy when playing, when wearing a skirt or dress. Understand that although, when your child is awake they may be able to let you know they need to go to the toilet, when they are sound asleep they may not be even aware they are going to the toilet and so it’s important to keep the sleep nappy up for their day sleep and night sleep. Again once when you see the day nappy is always dry when they wake, you can drop the day sleep nappy but keep the night one for some time as children are sound asleep for many more hours and although they are aware during their short day sleep, they may not hold their wee during the night sleep.
STAGE 6: NO NAPPIES AT ALL
You can throw out the nappies when your child goes through the day and night sleeps without nappies. Don’t rush this either and wait for dry night nappies for a while before moving to just p.js. Ensure your child has the routine of going to the toilet before going to bed at night. It can be distressing for the child (if one parents isn’t part of this routine and when they are responsible for putting the child to bed they don’t take the child to the toilet) and the child wakes in a wet bed and clothing. There is also the need sometimes to just make no fuss and return to night nappies if it seems success is a bit hit and miss.
Occasionally, we might have a child who is not naturally progressing through these stages and that might indicate there is a medical issues that needs to be examined. This is rare and by not rushing things we give a child every opportunity to ensure toileting is simple. Children usually learn to wee on the toilet before they learn to poos. Some children are quite happy to wee in the toilet but can take up to months later to do poos in the toilet. They may even go off to a corner to do a poo and this is quite normal for possibly a couple of months after learning to use the toilet to do a wee. Boys tend to toilet train and mature later than girls.
Some children are concerned about the flush and think they will be flushed away too! Don’t flush whilst they are on or close to the toilet. Some children don’t like the big toilets because they are high and the child feels insecure and when we are out on excursions we have to use the big toilets. So to ensure child feels safe and secure, we straddle the child on the toilet seat (legs apart) and they hold on to the seat on each side of their body. We lift them on and off the big toilets. This is still done after morning tea. By using a small toilet at day care they will get used to the idea of toilets which are more hygienic than a potty. Many children are scared of the hand-dyer noise in public toilets so be mindful and/or take tissues to dry their hands (as wet hands allow more germs to stick to them!).
I think the best place for the potty is in the garden so you can show cause and effect! Have the toddler run around out in the garden without any pants and when you see the wee, swiftly and calmly pick them up and pop them on the potty. If the wee continues to come out in the potty applaud and celebrate with them and let them examine. Summer is the very best time for such activities and this is all part of your child learning through play!
So remember to a) have your child toileted, b) hand washed and c) sunscreen on a pick up and b) have 4 pull up nappies in their bag.