Toilet Training is King

Image from Google

I have a lot of new mum friends who have secretly messaged me regarding toilet training. Weird right? Like, what does a mid-20 preschool teacher got to do with my child’s toilet training kind of weird.. But here’s the thing, a lot. Lucky for them (and unlucky for me to some extent), I am in charge of 16 3 year olds who are all ready for toilet training.

The first thing they ask me is “How should I toilet train my kid?”, but this question is not as important this early on.. the biggest and most important question should be “Is my child READY for toilet training?” Readiness is actually defined as the stage or level the child’s development is at to learn a particular skill or milestone (Lewit & Baker, 1995). In this particular article, we are referring to toilet training as the skill or milestone that children need to learn.

If we would follow the milestone chart given by the NAEYC we will see that between the ages of 2 to 3 years old is the high time for children to learn the skill of toilet training since they are able to control their toilet urges, and are vocal enough to identify and express their certain needs. Having said that, I always tell parents who ask help with regards to toilet training that it is a step by step process that doesn’t need to be rushed. Again, readiness is important and must be considered. I will share an experience, where in the parent asked me to toilet train their child as soon as possible because they think that the child is too old to still be wearing diapers. Being the responsive teacher that I am, that day I started the training, but yielded negative response. The child cried at the sight of the toilet bowl. This is something we do not want to happen. You have to let the child be comfortable in the environment for him to function well. Any anxiety caused by surroundings can greatly affect how the child will respond. I didn’t push through with the training that day, but decided to speak with the parents instead. I learned that the parents forced the kid to go toilet training by carrying him to the toilet, letting him sit on the bowl, and allowed him to cry until he pee. Doing so would not help the child. This will just delay further the natural process of them, learning this skill.

As mentioned above, aside from being ready, there are other factors that come to play in the process of toilet training such as speech development and muscle development. We will call this, setting up the stage for toilet training.

Children loves story telling, it is an effective tool to stimulate their senses, and in this case toilet training.

Being able to vocalize their needs play a big role as they learn to associate the act of peeing with the sentence “I want to pee.” This may take some time, but it is good for parents and caretakers to reiterate this all the time so children can get used to it. What we can do is to talk to them while they are in the toilet and explaining to them what you are doing. This is actually a good technique as they learn other concepts such as keeping your hands clean by washing hands, conserving water, saving tissue, and different rooms of the house (in this case the bathroom). On the first try of bringing them to the toilet, it doesn’t have to be a success right away. You can just introduce to them first the bathroom, where to pee, shower area or sink, and as what I have suggested the concepts of grooming. If you have or you have enough time (or lack of it), try to tell your children stories that will relate to toilet training. Stimulating all their senses will keep them interested in this new skill that they are learning. Once you think that are comfortable with the idea, you can start training them by actually letting them sit on the toilet bowl and explaining to them how to prepare before peeing (i.e. aiming for the toilet, seating nicely on the bowl, flushing afterwards). Model the actions so children can actually have a concrete idea how it is done.

Toilet training pants are much thicker than the usual children’s underwear

Being able to control their bladder is another thing, so be prepared with all the work (and tissue) during this period. It is a matter of trial and error. If resources permit, change the diapers of children as often as possible so they don’t get used to having a wet diaper (Edwards & Wichener, ND). Continue bringing them to the toilet, regardless if they pee or not. Have a time interval for your toilet training, and stick to it religiously. 30 minutes, 20 minutes interval, it is up to you and it doesn’t matter if it will be a success or not. Most importantly for every try PRAISE the child with positive words, stickers or small items to reward their hard work. Continue doing this until they recognize the feeling of urinating and become confident on their own. Of course, there will always be accidents along the way (hence, prepare lots of tissue within reach), but that is not a sign of failure, but a sign of developing and learning.

Toilet training is a tedious job that requires tons of patience and toilet roll. But it can be truly rewarding to once you get the results you have hoped for.