Potty Training Guide
Introducing the concept
By Rhea Seymour
If your child is walking and talking, you’re probably starting to think about toilet training. While the prospect of doing away with diaper changes sounds heavenly to most parents, potty training doesn’t happen overnight. “Parents need to be patient with the process and they need to work it into their life,” says Jan Faull, a Seattle, Washington child development and behaviour specialist and author of Mommy! I Have to Go Potty! A Parent's Guide to Toilet Training (Raefield & Roberts). “A lot of parents just hope it happens and for some kids it does. But like any other skill you want your child to learn, you’ve got to help it along.”Introducing the concept. When your child is between 18-months and two-years old, Faull suggests starting to familiarize him or her with the process of using the toilet. Start by teaching the vocabulary – pee, poop, potty – and putting a potty chair in the bathroom. “The child is not ready to use the potty or toilet but it’s part of familiarizing her with the process,” says Faull. Offer your child the opportunity to work the potty into her daily routine. For example, before she gets into the bathtub, have her sit on the potty while holding a teddy bear or while you read her a book. “Kids are so routine-oriented, if you begin to work the potty into the process before they’re ready to learn, having that routine in place will make it easier.”
Demonstrating how to go to the toilet is also an important part of preparing your child for toilet training. “They have to learn to use the toilet just like they have to learn any other habit, like going to bed or getting dressed,” says Faull. “If they can watch mommy sit on the toilet, use toilet paper, flush and wash her hands – while she narrates what she’s doing – that’s all part of the learning process.”
Move on to when to start potty training.