Babies . Toddlers . Bed-wetting
Where Do I Start?
Every child needs to be toilet trained. You think that being a given, it should be easy… imprinted into our brains, like a baby bird just knowing how to fly when it is time. Why then do so many parents struggle in this area?
When do you start? What do you do? Why does my child not tell me they need to go? Being a concerned parent, especially the first time Mums, we want to do everything by the book and hopefully not create psychological problems in the process. I believe this is a big stumbling block for parents in the back of their mind when it comes to toilet training their child. If I do something wrong, will they go backwards and still be pooing their pants at school age. I don’t want to wreck my child.
Toilet Training needs to be brought back down to earth. Sometimes as parents we place it too high on a pedestal, scared of the unknown, creating our own fears in the process which can then be transferred to our children. Why don’t we place the same type of stress with eating our vegetables or using our manners? These are also important aspects involved with child rearing to create healthy, socially integrated human beings. Toilet training needs to be tackled with the same relaxed perspective.
There are definite signs your child is ready to start toilet training, but as I am sure you have discovered, not every child fits into checklists or textbook specifications. You’ve heard the stories, you may have even raised one…. the child that just simply toilet trains themselves in less than a week. It was so easy, you didn’t have to do a thing. Then there is the majority of the population.
YOU need to be ready for toilet training. You need to get rid of any preconceived fears you may have created. You need to be ready to positively input into your child’s life. You need to relax. You need to be ready for accidents on the lounge or you new $1200 rug. You need to be prepared to clean the poo that has smeared down the legs of your child as you pulled off their pants and scrape it into the toilet before you hand clean it in the bucket of disinfectant. Get the idea. Dealing with human waste is smelly, frustrating, annoying and just plain yucky! Your attitude plays a big part in the process.
Toilet Training Challenges
There are a few key challenges that rear their ugly heads with toilet training. Don’t worry if your child fits into 4 out of the 5 categories below. There are products available such as the PeeWee & PooToo Toilet Training Kit, that work extremely well to help refocus your child and turn toilet training into something fun.
1. Toilet Refusal
My little girl at 2.5 years old decided to go for this one. As a parent it can be extremely frustrating because you simply don’t know where to go next. You have tried everything, and everything just isn’t working. This brings in the impending doom that your child will still be in nappies at 18. Often fears are the large influence here, fear of change, the toilet, even our attitude. A simple groan or dismay from us over an accident can send a sensitive child over the edge. This can often be the reason parents decide to delay toilet training – believing their child is not ready. Don’t be fooled. You wouldn’t give up feeding your child vegetables would you if they started refusing to eat them?! You come up with better ways to encourage it. My little girl was toilet trained in 3 days after refusing to use the toilet. I used a Toilet Training Kit and it gave me the system that both of us could use and it turned a chore into something fun. Don’t use force. Just do it smarter not harder.
Suggested Products/Techniques: Go Potty Pack; Weeman for boys; Wee Targets for boys; Toilet Yum Yums; Early-Start Potty Training (book); Lupi Lu; Pottette (portable potty and insert for public toilets).
2. The Poo Challenge
I am amazed at how common this one is. Almost every second phone call I get involves what I call “The Poo Challenge”. This involves things like running away to hide to poo. Wees great on the toilet, but refuses to poo. Will only poo in their pants. Will only poo when the nappy is placed back on…. Etc, etc. The problem with “The Poo Challenge” is that it can lead to constipation (though this can sometimes be the starting cause). The other key issue is that it simply cannot be left unattended to. The problem needs to be addressed immediately or the longer it is left, the more ingrained the bad habit appears to get, until suddenly you realise you child is 4, starting school, and you don’t know where to go.
Suggested Products/Techniques: The Poo Pack; Toilet Yum Yums are fantastic for refocussing you child with poo challenges; Go Potty Pack (even if they are established with wees, this can increase your child’s confidence and help eliminate fears to do with pooing on the toilet); Natural pear or prune juice and prunes if constipation is an issue (see a Doctor for medical advice in this area.) In every case, meet your child where they are at. If they are comfortable with soiling their nappy or pants, you may need to let them sit on the toilet with a nappy / pants on to start with to help ease them into using the toilet. Then you can cut a hole in the nappy as the next step so they can see that it is ok for their poo to go in the toilet.
3. Not Interested
This can also be a factor that delays toilet training as parents think that their child is just not ready to start. The lack of interest can stem though from fears of change as they don’t’ want to lose the nappy. If you think about it, we train our children to wee and poo in their nappy for 2 or more years of their life and wonder why we get objections when we want to change the rules. The relaxed, more laid back personality can also be a factor influencing the lack of interest. Subsequently you have try extra hard to make it interesting for this child. Find their motivation and keeping them motivated can be a challenge, but if you don’t persist, it can delay the process a long, long time.
Suggested Products/Techniques: Go Potty Pack; Weeman for boys; Wee Targets for boys; Toilet Yum Yums; Early-Start Potty Training (book).
4. Soiled or Wet Pants – Don’t Care
A child with a laid back personality can be the hardest child to toilet train, because they just don’t care. They are happy to sit in soiled or wet pants, it simply doesn’t bother them. This does makes toilet training difficult and it means it may take a little longer. A child that can’t stand being wet will want to keep dry, and has a better chance of identifying the wetness sensation required to take themselves to the toilet themselves. What this means is that you need to work harder at motivating your child and keeping them motivated to go.
Suggested Products/Techniques: Go Potty Pack Weeman for boys; Wee Targets for boys; Toilet Yum Yums; Early-Start Potty Training (book)
5. Constipation / Urinary Tract Infection
These challenges can be the cause of toileting fears simply because at one stage it hurt to go. Obviously get your child to your local GP ASAP and get the situation fixed before any toilet training occurs. Then your next step will be to help your child overcome the fear created with going to the toilet, to help them realise it isn’t going to hurt anymore. This involves giving your child something fun to focus on to take their minds off their initial fears.
Suggested Products: Pear or prune juice and prunes can be a natural laxitive if constipation is an issue (see a Doctor for medical advice in this area.) Go Potty Pack to help eliminate fears; Toilet Crackers; Weeman for boys; Wee Targets for boys; Toilet Yum Yums; Early-Start Potty Training (book).
Factors That Delay Toilet Training
There are certain factors that assist in extending the toilet training process longer than what it needs to be. If you want to get the job done quickly, you need to avoid the following:
2. The Nappy
3. Negative Attitude
Inconsistency is a big factor in the delay of toilet training your child. Starting one day, stopping the next, does not allow consistency for your child to learn the new sensation they have to identify with – their body telling them they need to go to the toilet. Subsequently, this can delay toilet training or in some cases, actually create toilet refusal because the right skills are not practiced long enough for the good habit to be established. We often have to break the bad habit first – weeing and pooing in their nappy – in order to create the new one. Having a game plan and system to work with can prevent this. If you can, stay home for at least a weekend, preferably 3-5 days to get the process started.
2. The Nappy
The longer you keep the nappy the longer it is going to take. The key is for your child to identify the wetness sensation that a disposable nappy takes away. Big boy / girl underpants are essential to the whole process for building your child’s confidence, allowing them to feel wet, teaching them to pull them up and down, etc. Waterproof toilet training pants help us as parents to have the confidence to “Leave the home” without putting the nappy back on. They are also great and save us heaps for night time training. And by the way…. a pull-up is still a nappy! So if you want to go quicker… lose the nappy during waking hours.
3. Negative Attitude
Your attitude can play a big part in the toilet training process. You don’t even have to say anything, your body language and facial expressions can display excitement or displeasure toward your child. Some children are more sensitive to others to this, so beware, get the attitude right before you start. Never get angry at your child for an accident. Be positive at all times and always encourage your child where possible. Your excitement will flow through to them.