7 things to know about toilet training your child

By Sangeeta Kocharekar November 7, 2016

Arm yourself with this knowledge before you begin the task of potty training your toddler

For nearly all first-time parents, the thought of toilet training a toddler is daunting. It's difficult for them to understand how to assist their child and how to troubleshoot through the issues that may arise. We asked Debbie Evans, Founder and Clinical Director of Sydney’s most sought after children’s therapy service, Therapies for Kids, for her top tips to help. 

1. Make it as easy for them as possible

Dress your child in pants that are easy for them to put on and pull off. Typically, bigger sized clothing is easier for them to take off.

2. Empower your child to communicate with you

Ask your child every now and then, "do you need to go?" Encourage them to tell you or another adult when they feel the urge to go. It is also useful to stimulate discussions and ask them to communicate when they need to do a number one or number two.”

3. Praise your child for every progress


It doesn’t matter how small or big the achievement is, or even if the toddler doesn’t complete the entire routine successfully – praise them for the part that they were able to do. Rewarding your child for every small feat reinforces positive support. This can be in the form of reward charts, verbal praise or stickers. As the toddler achieves each stage, reduce the amount of praise until their actions become the norm. 

4. Verbalise and gesture to your child

Show and help your child practice pulling their pants down and up when toilet training. Additionally, explain to them the process of washing and wiping hands, and what they need to do. By verbalising and gesturing to your child to explain toilet training, it helps them to visualise and understand the process. In particular, pictures always help. They make it easier for kids to understand the process of going to the toilet and the order of actions they need to follow during the routine.

5. Role play going to the toilet


Use dolls, teddy bears or other soft toys with your child to demonstrate the toilet training experience. This way they know that everyone goes to the toilet.

6. Timing is everything

During warmer weather, giving your child an increase in fluid or water intake can help. By providing them with a large drink of water more than 40 minutes before they visit the toilet can assist the process. Make sure you have enough time to devote to your child during toilet training. Stay with them to read a book or chat until they wee and then praise them for going to the toilet.

7. Phase out the potty gradually

Start gradually moving the potty closer to the toilet. Make the transition easier by getting your toddler to practise sitting on the 'big potty'. You will need to buy a step and a smaller seat that fits securely inside the existing toilet seat.

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