If you’re considering tackling toilet training, then there is no better time than summer to start it. Not only is it a good time to take a week or two off work so you can concentrate your efforts on the task, but the weather is warm enough to allow your child to run around the house without pants on, and also warm enough to dry any sheets/clothing that may need washing in the process!
Before you start, it is imperative that you make sure that not only is your child ready to start training, but you are too. You may be ready to stop buying and changing nappies, but if your child isn’t physiologically, psychologically or emotionally ready to train, then it will be a long uphill battle for you both. Likewise, if your child is ready to start training but you don’t have the time, resources or support then it will be equally as challenging.
So here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I have time to commit myself fully to toilet training?
- Are there no conflicting major events occurring (such as new baby, moving house, holidays)?
- Do I have the support of other carers such as babysitters and child care staff?
- Do I have all the equipment needed for toilet training (such as training pants, loose clothing for easy removal, reward options, communication aids, toileting equipment)
- Does my child have healthy, predicatable bowel movements?
- Does my child urinate a fair amount at once?
- Does my child’s nappy remain dry for at least 2 hours or during naps?
- Does my child indicate if their nappy is wet/soiled?
- Does my child show any signs when releasing their bladder/bowel?
- Does my child show interest in the toilet environment or toilet routine such as washing hands or using underwear?
- Does my child respond to rewards (including positive praise)?
- Can my child independently sit for periods of 2-5 minutes?
- Can my child follow simple instructions?
And remember, there is no magic age at which children need to start toilet training, and just because all of your friend’s children were toilet trained by 2, doesn’t mean you should train your child if they’re not showing any signs of readiness.
And to close with a quote from Occcupational Therapist Debbie Atkins, who created the Toilet Time resource for Disability Services: ‘Be Patient. Be Positive. Be Persistent’. (and good luck!)