Along with introducing solids, first words and beginning to walk, toilet training is a huge milestone for both parents and children. And for most parents this can bring great stress and anxiety. When should I start? How do I do this? What if I fail? All of these questions cross a parent’s mind at the thought of beginning toilet training.
In this blog, I am going to give you some helpful tips and suggestions to help make the process a little smoother for all involved. Unfortunately, this is not a foolproof guide because, like all things parenting, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model. You know your child best and therefore will know which of these tips and tricks will work best.
My first tip is to ensure you never pressure your child when toilet training. This can very quickly backfire and can instil fear and anxiety around toileting. Many parents have a perceived idea around the age a child ‘should’ be toilet trained. Just like with other milestones, children will be ready in their own time. If you are determined to try and train your child at a certain age, for example, before the birth of a sibling or before they start kinder, just be mindful to be gentle in your approach and also be prepared that your child may just not be ready yet.
My children were both toilet trained around the age of three. There are some people who think this is quite late, yet it was the age we were ready. However, both were very different and therefore my approach also had to change. We did try and start toilet training around four months earlier with Cristian but it was very obvious that he was not ready. It only resulted in me cleaning up after him and both of us becoming frustrated. I am so glad that I read the signs and decided to leave it for a little longer. For both Cristian and Sofia, I used a combination of the below to successfully toilet train them.
Here are my top tips for toilet training and how they worked (or didn’t work) for my own children.
Are you ready?
It is always important to ensure that you and your family are ready to start toilet training. It is often useful to choose a time when there are less distractions as well as more time spent at home. Obviously, it is much easier to clean up accidents at home as well as easy access to the toilet and the ability for you to keep an eye on your child and see the signs of needing the toilet.
You may also need to ensure that your house is prepared. This may sound silly, however thinking about carpets, couches etc is important to make this easier on you. We chose to roll up our loungeroom rug and just use towels for the kids to play on instead. We also set up a seat on the couch that had a change mat and some towels on it. Lastly, we put towels down on the carpet in the hallway to the toilet. This made cleaning up accidents much easier. Yes, there was more washing but we were able to save the couch, carpet and rug from any disaster.