Patience rather than pressure gives your child courage. Yes, who would have thought a habit as basic as potty training could mould your child psychologically? Children are usually potty-trained between the second and third years. Here’s how you can approach this important milestone in your child’s life.
Feeling The Urge
Step one is knowing when your child feels the urge.
• Your baby pulls back the diaper when he is about to have a bowel movement
• He is unhappy when you make him wear a diaper
• He tells you after using the diaper
• He likes when his parents and siblings use the toilet
When you catch these signals, offer your child a potty or the toilet (place a stool in front of it for easy access) – again and again. If it works, you will know. All children are very proud of their ‘achievement’. Some children have problems with flushing the toilet. Conversely, there are some who beg almost everyone to let them flush!
The ‘Smaller’ Urge
• You child must learn to recognise the pressure on their bladder and bowels
• He should make the connection between Pee-Do and the emptying his bladder
• He should be able to postpone the urge.
• Do not expect your child to get bladder- or potty-trained overnight. It’s a development process that takes about two years, during which time you can expect many ‘accidents’ and ‘relapses’.
• Do not let potty-training turn into a competition between you and your child. Undue pressure hinders the learning process.
• Don’t expect to completely do away with diapers before the age of three. At five, a child should only rarely mess their pants or the bed. If he is not yet potty-trained by this age, consult a paediatrician.
How To Help Your Child
• Set a fixed time to sit on the potty. This is how your child will recognise the relationship between need, sitting down and doing.
• Praise your child ever time he makes the connection.
• Do not scold your child if something goes wrong. Comforting him is a better way to do it. (‘Never mind, we’ll try again next time’)
• If you do not mind, let your child watch you go to the bathroom. He could stand outside when you’re finished.
• Use a doll or teddy bear to demonstrate sitting on the potty. Children learn very quickly through imitation.