With term 4 in Australian schools well under way, the pressure to ensure your child is toilet trained and ready for Kinder at the start of 2016 is immense for some parents. Our appointment books and information nights at the moment are showing that this is something high on the priority list of many families. Therefore this week's blog is dedicated to toilet training.. whether we have just described your situation or not - these tips can hopefully help any parents to navigate the minefield that is toilet training! Here are a few things to bear in mind:
BEING TOILET TRAINED IS A SKILL - As it comes naturally for most of us, we don't think of it as such but before transitioning your child from nappies to the toilet/ potty or straight into underwear, you need to be sure they understand what you are expecting from them! If they don't you are asking for accidents. Explain the whole process to them - each step of what will be required of them. This can be done using books, pictures or just explaining over and over. There is no point in being angry if they haven't mastered the skill yet - rather lots of positive reinforcement for when they get even part of it right!
MOST TODDLERS CAN'T MULTI TASK - Leaving your game/ friends/ dinner to go the toilet requires your brain to focus on more than one thing at a time which many toddlers are unable to handle. Therefore, only suggest going to the toilet at times where they don't feel there is somewhere else to be or something else to do.
TIMED TOILETING - This follows straight from the point above. Take your child regularly - every 1-2 hours at the start and at certain set points in the day eg: first thing in the morning; between activities; straight after school; before meals; before bath. The constant reminder to go and the option of going very regularly can help avoid accidents.
CONSISTENCY OF LANGUAGE: Is poo and wee being called the same thing by all care givers? If not there can be confusion so try to make sure that whoever is with your child knows the terms your child is familiar with and works with you.
WHAT ATTENTION DOES YOUR CHILD GET BY NOT BEING TOILET TRAINED? For many children not being toilet trained is the last vestige of babyhood as well as a way to exert some control over the rate at which they grow up! Therefore, it is important to make the toilet a positive time for them. Try to find ways of making toilet time fun some examples include – letting them put together a box of books and games they get to play on the toilet only; allowing them to decorate their potty or choose a funky toilet seat which gives them ownership and of course rewards for going in the first place!
THINK ABOUT THE WHOLE PICTURE IN ORDER TO HELP THEM SUCCEED - You know your child best and know if they are ready or not to be toilet trained - be guided by them. Developmentally, they should be able to pull pants up and down as well as being able to tell you when they are wet and dirty or even doing a poo. Also think about how much they are drinking and take them more in hot weather when they are drinking more fluid. If you know that certain foods such as summer fruit makes them go to the toilet - when you are trying to toilet train them, it may be worth giving them less to avoid accidents. Remember the more positive the experience is and the less accidents there are, the more smoothly the process is likely to go!
Wishing you an accident free week!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!