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Toilet training: when to start and how to do it.

By : Made Wulan Sintiyari

Toilet training or potty training is a big step for kids and parents. Many parents are unsure about when to start toilet training for their kids. Toilet training requires physical skills as well as cognitive and emotional abilities. Not all kids are ready at the same age, so it's important to watch your child for signs of readiness. Lisa Asta (2020) said “When kids want to go on potty, they will go on potty. Sometimes that happens at 18 months; sometimes it does not happen until close to age 4”. However, the important thing is that there is no right or wrong age to start toilet training for your child. How ready a child to begin learning to use the potty depends on the individual child’s development.

Instead of using age, look for signs that your child is ready to start toilet training, such as being able to:

  • follow simple instructions

  • understand and use words about using the potty

  • make the connection between the urge to pee or poop and using the potty

  • keep a diaper dry for 2 hours or more

  • get to the potty, sit on it for enough time, and then get off the potty

  • pull down diapers, disposable training pants, or underpants

  • show an interest in using the potty or wearing underpants

When the child shows those signs above, it means he or she is ready to start toilet training. After the child shows signs of readiness, the next question from parents is “how to do it”? Toilet training includes discussing, undressing, going, wiping, dressing, flushing, and hand-washing. Remember to reinforce your child's success at each step. There are many steps to the toilet training process. The more ready the child is when you begin, the more quickly the toilet training process will go. Initial success relies on your child understanding the use of the toilet and not yet mastering the process.

Port (2011) recommend following these steps when parents are ready to toilet train their kids:

  • Introduce the potty

Since kids typically start potty training between 18 and 30 months, start talking about potty training occasionally around your child's first birthday. Keep a few children's books about potty training lying around your house to read along with your child.

  • Look for signs of readiness

If your child is staying dry for at least two hours during the day and is dry after naps, this could mean she's ready to give the potty training. Before you head to the bathroom, find out if she/he can follow simple instructions, like a request to walk to the bathroom, sit down, and remove her clothes.

  • Choose the right time carefully

When you do decide it's time to start potty training, you'll want your child to go to the bathroom independently, day or night, so make sure she has transitioned out of the crib and into a big-kid bed.

  • Demonstrate the potty training method

When you're ready to start training, let your child sit on the potty fully clothed when you are in the bathroom to get a feel for the seat. Tell him to remove his shorts or pants first, his underwear next, and to sit on the toilet for a few minutes. Read him a book or play a game your child. Then, whether or not he/she actually goes potty, instruct him to flush and wash his hands. Of course, always praise him for trying.

  • Offer Praise and Rewards

When you're potty training, accidents are part of the process; some kids still have accidents through age 5 or 6, and many don't stay dry at night until that age. Never punish your child for wetting or soiling his pants; he's just learning and can't help it. Instead, when your child uses the potty successfully, offer gentle praise and a small reward.

  • Teach Proper Hygiene

To set children up with good hygiene habits that will last a lifetime, washing hands should be a routine, along with flushing and wiping, regardless of whether your child actually went in the potty.

Parents’ and kids’ readiness is one of the important keys to start toilet training for toddlers. Parents should be ready with accidents or failures during toilet training. Toilet training should not be started when the child is feeling ill or when the child experiencing any major life changes. Parent should not feel pressured to toilet train their child. It is because parents’ anxiety about toilet training can create anxiety in the child, too. Timing and patience are the key points for a successful toilet training.





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