Potty training: how to accompany your child?
Your toddler is growing faster than his shadow, so it's time to take the big step of potty training. Your baby will be moving from diapers to using the potty or toilet, with or without a reducer. Stopping diapering is a real topic, and in this article we'll help you get the hang of it.
Why potty train your child?
Children are usually potty trained before they start kindergarten. In France, there is a lot of pressure on parents and children to go to the bathroom before the start of school.
First of all, keep in mind that the child must be ready in mind and in body before removing his diapers. It is not uncommon for them to decide to take off their diapers overnight without any "accidents". Your role as parents is to help your child grow up in confidence, safety and without judgment.
Note that each toddler has his own pace of development and will not evolve at the same speed as his little friends, as for language and walking for example. The golden rule is not to put pressure on your child to learn potty training and to keep in mind that he won't become potty trained to please you!
When your child is finally potty trained and free of diapers, you can enjoy :
- Lightening your budget and saving money on disposable diapers
- Save a lot oftime by not changing your son or daughter anymore
- Anticipating the start of the school year in kindergarten and school without diapers
- Realize that time passes too quickly and that you have to take advantage of every moment
When to start potty training?
First of all, potty training your child cannot be taught! It's a natural, spontaneous process that generally occurs between 2 and a half and 4 years of age after birth.
It is actually the acquisition of sphincter control thanks to the neuromotor and psychic maturation of your child.
Indeed, your child will progressively learn to control his perineum, his bladder and be attentive to his sensations to understand when he wants to relieve himself.
The different signs that show that your little one is ready to say goodbye to diapers are :
- He feels and understands when his diaper is soiled
- He can identify when he pees and poops
- He wants to sit on the potty or toilet
- Able to keep diaper dry for two hours or more (or stay dry)
- Is curious about it and likes stories about it
- Can pull down pants and diaper by himself and undress without help
- Your child asks to go to the potty
- Your child no longer likes diaper changes (he struggles, refuses the diaper ...)
There are several ways to initiate autonomy in hygiene, we can mention for examplepotty training with Montessori.
Our 8 tips to make potty training easier for your child
You'll soon be able to claim that your child is potty-trained, but before that happens, here are our tips and tricks to make this big change easier. Too much pressure on your child could block or stress him out and cause him to refuse to trade in his diapers for a pair of panties.
Respect the child's learning rhythm
The ideal time to start learning is surely the time chosen by your child.
Our advice to accompany and encourage him/her is :
- Observe a window of interest and curiosity through his behaviors to respond to requests
Make the child aware of his stools when you change the diaper without hiding them, and show that they are thrown in the toilet, talk so that it is integrated as a natural phenomenon.
- Wait for a quiet time at home like school vacations
- Summer is a good time to go with him because clothes are easy to take off
- Don't force him or her, don't start potty training at the same time as a move, the arrival of a little sister or brother, a change of daycare...
Establish a potty training routine with your child
Babies love routines and rituals. It makes them feel secure. Accompany your child to use the toilet or potty at regular times that he or she can identify:
- after meals;
- before snack time;
- before naps, before going to bed and when waking up;
- Before bath time.
Avoid giving your baby a book or toy while she's sitting on the toilet. You can create a potty training chart to establish a routine.
Wait 5 minutes to let him have a bowel movement or pass urine. If nothing happens, let him go back to playing without making any comments or reproaches, otherwise the child is aware that there is an expectation. It is preferable to tell him "Oh, it wasn't time yet, it will come later", rather than "It's nothing, it's not serious". Make himadopt the sitting position which is physiological on the potty or toilet, for girls and boys even for urination .
Praise your child for his cooperation without making too much of it (rather than for the needs themselves) which will have been done in the potty.
Do not insist that the child go to the potty
Do not insist that your child go to the potty. Place the potty in appropriate places such as the toilet and explain what it is used for . Exceptionally and temporarily, the potty can be placed at night when the diaper is being removed. The child needs a clearly marked space.
Offer him to sit on it, to sit on his doll or his blanket. Even when dressed, your child should enjoy sitting on the potty to imitate you or to do his business.
Don't forget to encourage your child every time he tries ! Show your child that you have confidence in him ! You can also invent potty training games or give your child potty training books or do themed activities!
Potty training with training pants
When it comes to potty training, be prepared, you're going to have little accidents from time to time even when you think the goal is achieved! The training pants are designed to hold small pee and allow your child to understand that they need to go to the potty. The advantage of the training pants is that they contain aleak-proof absorbent zone that will give you time to change your child without all the clothes getting wet.
No more diapers for your child at night
Removing your child's diaper is a real step towards learning to be potty trained at night. Both for the parents and for the child. Take your time, don't put pressure on your little one.
When should I start potty training at night?
- He stays dry all day because he goes to the toilet regularly
- His diaper is not full after naps or when he wakes up in the morning
Always encourage your child to call you when he/she needs to pee during naps or in the middle of the night, even when he/she is wearing a diaper
Help your child wipe at the stool
Your child'shygiene is very important. A child cannot physiologically wipe his or her own buttocks properly before the age of 4. He will therefore need your help. While wiping the child, teach him the right gesturesto clean everything and avoid infections, especially in the little girl.
The golden rules:
- Help him until he is independent
- Little girls should wipe from front to back in a single pass to prevent stool from coming into contact with the vulva
- Remember to wash your hands after each trip to the bathroom
Don't punish the child about toileting
Toilet training is a process that can affect your child's behavior and development: Constipation, tummy ache, self-confidence... If he refuses to go to the potty, he's not ready. Do not punish or scold your child who pees or poops in his pants, on the floor, accompany him. They should not feel ashamed but feel that you trust them!
Don't overreact to a relapse in potty training
It's very likely that your child will experience a regression in potty training. He may go to the potty for a while and then decide not to go anymore if he loses interest. His environment can have a lot to do with his emotions. Don't overreact, it's normal. It is preferable to maintain the proposals with a probability of "success" to reinforce the child's self-confidence, by proposing for example that in the morning when he wakes up. By stopping for a while, you validate that the potty is not interesting.
Who should I talk to if I have doubts about potty training?
If you're unsure about potty training, don't panic, there are health professionals who can help! Ask your pediatrician, general practitioner or family doctor for advice.
Psychomotricians are also available and specialized to help your child. It is essential to consult a specialist if your child:
- Is not yet using the potty or toilet after age 4
- When you don't know how to start potty training
- Is constipated, has pain with bowel movements or bleeding in his poop
- When the urine is cloudy, smelly (don't forget to give him water)
- when there is redness or rash around the vulva of little girls
- When he has diaper rash
Potty Training FAQs
How do I start potty training?
On average, children are potty trained between the ages of 2 and 4. The best time to start potty training is during the summer months, when parents are available.
What are the three requirements for potty training?
For a child to go to the potty or toilet, he or she must be physically able to control the perineum and sphincters through voluntary muscle relaxation. Potty training is also a matter of mindset and confidence, and above all of repeated and multiple experiences!
How do you know if your child is ready to be potty trained?
Your child is ready to be potty trained as soon as he knows when his diaper is wet, wants to sit on the potty or the toilet, is curious about the subject or asks to go to the potty!
What is the ideal age for diaper removal?
There is no ideal age for removing your baby's diapers. It is a process that should be done without stress as soon as your baby is physically and psychologically ready. However, if after the age of 5, your little one is still not clean, consult your pediatrician!