Your child might be ready any time from 18 months to four years. Knowing about using the toilet and being physically able to are two different things – brain connections that control bowel and bladder sometimes don’t mature fully until 3 years or older. They might be ready to try when they start being dry for longer periods of time. Other signs include talking about toilet stuff and watching you use the toilet (let them so they know it’s normal and everyone does it).
Pick a time when life is settled (so not when you’re moving or about to have a new baby). Summer can often be a good time to try as kids are wearing less to get on and off. Know where the closest public toilets are in your community you might need to get to them quickly.
Take note of your child’s patterns and start putting them on the toilet at regular times. Don’t leave them on there for more than a few minutes if nothing happens. Make a pleasant routine go alongside toileting, like a special book, song, finger plays.
Be direct - “I think you need to go for a wee what will you use toilet or potty? If they aren’t that keen at first you could try distract them with a book or song. Don’t force them to stay for long any longer than a few minutes when you are first introducing the idea. Try not to get angry when as soon as you put their nappy back on they fill it – just like everything new it takes time to learn and master.
Avoid clothes with lots of domes, buttons or buckles - elastic waists are a lot easier and quicker to get up and down. Carry changes of clothes and plastic bags when you’re out and about.
When/if they do go, give them lots of praise.Some kids also do well with rewards - so you could also try sticker charts or special treats. Keep in mind at night some kids just don’t wake when the need the toilet so it’s not something they can control.
Be patient - learning to use the toilet can be a long process and every child has accidents. Don’t freak out if your child goes back to having accidents - it might make them scared and not want to try any more. Stay positive and try not to make it a big deal – Fake it till you make it!
Staying dry at night can take longer – some kids still wear night nappies well into their primary school years.
Over it? Use your phone timer to set a time limit for a play activity – your full attention for five minutes is better than half pai for longer.
Had enough? You may feel like you need alcohol or drugs to relax – but they often make the situation worse, especially when you have to deal with kids. Who could help you cut down or cut it out?