Toilet Training Advice!

Children toilet train at a variety of different ages and may be ready to train at different stages.  Some train before 2 years  of age others aren't ready until shortly before school starts.  Don't feel pressured by friends and relatives because they say that  their child trained at 15 months!  Here are some tips for toilet training that I have developed over the years:
  • Make sure your child seems ready and willing.  If he or she isnt ready, is fearful or resistant it won't go well .   
  • Off bottles please. We want your child to see him/herself as a big boy/girl who does big boy/girl things like toilet training.
  • Keep things soft !  If the bowels are hard and infrequent or painful your child will tend to hold and resist.  Why should he/she  willingly sit, strain and work hard anyway!!   Prepare your child ahead of time by having him/her on a diet that promotes soft, frequent and somewhat urgent or explosive stools.  It will increase your chance of "getting lucky' when he/ she sits. 
  • Frequently ask your child if  he or she wants to sit .  Don't just wait for your child to ask to go   Try to recognize his or her signals  and get him or her there when he or she seems ready.  Remember if he or she says no at the time its okay!
  • He or she is the boss - you are the helper.  If he / she doesnt want to go its ok!   You can  take, recommend and advise but your child has to decide whether or not to actually go. 
  • Use room changes.   If your child is busy playing or otherwise occupied he / she may not want to sit at that time.  But when he or she is changing rooms - going upstairs , going from the kitchen to the den, going inside or outside  he or she is likely passing a washroom at that time and isnt already busy, its a good time to suggest he or she sits then toilets, toilet seat inserts, potties are all ok and what is best is where your child feels most comfortable.  
  • Trying things  out before attempting toilet training is often helpful.  Some children find "facing backwards" on the toilet may feel more supportive.   
  • Boys should start toilet training by sitting  on the toilet for both urine and bowel movements, by sitting for pee it will increase his chance of "getting lucky" and having a bowel movement as well during training.
  • I believe that the diaper should continue  be worn instead of underwear  until he or she is toilet trained for both bowel and bladder.  Some children start wearing underwear when they are trained for urine only, this often leads to withholding stools  and severe constipation which is difficult to treat.   The underwear is an excellent incentive for the child to become a big boy or girl  and receive underwear  only when he or she is trained both ways.
  • Have your child toilet after a sibling or parent -  "now it's your turn"  may help if things dont go well consider putting away the toilet training for a while and try again when your child is more willing or ready.