A lot of parents stress over when and how to start toilet training. This is mainly due to the overwhelming and often conflicting advice given from many well meaning people.
The first step to toilet training is to decide when you’re both ready. Toilet training doesn’t have to be an ordeal for you or your child. When training is a partnership between parent and child, instead of a contest of wills, things become simpler and far more rewarding.
Toilet training, like teething, is as individual as each child! The ideal time to start training will be different for everyone.
Signs of readiness
There is no point starting toilet training before your child is ready developmentally. The bladder and bowel muscles have to be sufficiently developed for the child to be able to hold on to urine and faeces long enough to get to the potty or toilet in time. This doesn’t happen physiologically before about 2 years of age (sometimes bowel control is achieved before this). Night time dryness usually takes longer than day time dryness, but it’s generally achieved between 2 Ω - 4 years of age.
Starting too early will only lead to anxiety, distress, and many unnecessary problems for both you and your child. It can also serve to delay and or extend the whole process.
Signs of readiness may include if your child:
- Is able to stay dry for two hours at a time in the day, or during a daytime nap.
- Has regular and predictable bowel movements.
- Indicates by words, facial expression or posture they’re about to urinate or have a bowel movement.
- If your child becomes uncomfortable with wet or soiled nappies.
- A willingness to co-operate with toilet training.