When to Start Toilet Training and Introducing the Potty
Toilet training issues - when, where and how - can be a controversial topic.
I have had interesting conversations with other health workers and parents, some from different cultures in regards to toilet training. In China, for instance, children and babies do not wear nappies, so toilet training starts very early. A Korean client was training her baby from birth and claimed her mother had trained her children by six months. From this example you can see it is more the mother who is being trained to be aware of her baby’s needs. This is the way I encourage and teach parents. Training parents to be aware of their baby’s body functions and needs. When parents understand their baby’s body rhythms they can assist their baby to form good habits such as good sleep and feeding patters. Through habitual behaviour parents help prepare their child for everyday activities such as hair washing, teeth cleaning and even toilet training. As these activities become a part of the child’s daily routine the child adapts and accepts this new learnt behaviour. A typical example is when you wrap your baby when it’s time to put him/her to bed, it doesn’t take long before baby recognises wrap means it’s time to sleep. Therefore why not introduce your baby to the potty when they are still very young!
Toilet training needn’t be a chore.
My suggestion is to introduce your baby to the potty when they can sit confidently with out support. Sit your baby on a potty and help him/her to be comfortable there. Sing or read a story to keep him/her occupied. Making a ‘ssssss’ sound can help baby to associate with doing a wee. Talk about ’wees and poos’ even if you think they don’t understand. You will be surprised how much they really take in. Put baby on the potty after every sleep time and when you see them straining to open their bowls. In fact if you start before your child becomes too independent, which usually is around two years old, you will have less resistance. Less resistance will mean more cooperation. If you make this part of your daily routine it will soon become a habit and less of a chore.
Tips: When starting your toilet training don’t sit baby on the potty for too long as they will only get restless and eventually resent the potty. It also helps if baby learns by example. Let him/her sit on the potty when you’re on the toilet. Give your baby praise and lots of encouragement even if nothing is produced.
Remember: In time you will become aware of your baby’s toilet habits. As you train yourself your baby will respond as he/she too recognizes why they are sitting on the potty.