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Toilet Training for Toddlers

An ideal time to begin toilet training for toddlers is when they are between the age of 2 and 3. As a parent, you may have some apprehensions about the transition your child will eventually make. You may have questions or doubts as to how this changeover will take place. But instead of worrying what may happen, follow the guidelines mentioned here.

Is Your Toddler Ready?

Begin training your child when he/she …

  • wants to go to the restroom at the same time every day.
  • understands when to use the restroom.
  • stays dry for more than a couple of hours and/or wakes up dry after a nap.
  • knows how to pull his/her pants up and down.
  • wants to stay dry and tells you when he/she spoiled the diaper.
  • has the ability to understand what “let’s go potty” means.
  • knows the meaning of the words wet, dry, poop, potty, and dirty.
  • tries to imitate you and/or other family members when you all go to the restroom.
  • wishes to do things by himself/herself.
  • wants or likes to stay clean and wash hands.
  • wishes to please you.

Is One Day Really Enough?

Training toddlers in less than a day is possible; in fact, toddlers as old as 20 months can be trained. This technique was conceptualized by Nathan H. Azrin, Ph.D. and Richard M. Foxx, Ph.D., and has been described in their book, Toilet Training in Less Than a Day.

Step #1: First and foremost, prepare you toddler for the day. You will have to start at least couple of weeks in advance by talking to him/her about how the restroom is actually used. If there is an older sibling(s), describe their experiences and how they use the restroom now. Make your toddler excited about using the restroom by himself/herself. Show him/her how to become a “big kid”.

Step #2: Let your toddler select his/her underwear. This will be the “big kid” underwear that he/she will wear after being trained. When kids wear something they love a lot, they tend to keep it clean for as long as possible.

Step #3: Keep practicing till you reach the final day. Take the diaper off, along with the other bottom half clothes, and put a long T-shirt to cover the private parts. Explain to your toddler what his/her role is in the restroom.

Step #4: Give your toddler a big glass of water or juice and explain what will happen next. Take your toddler to the restroom every 10―15 minutes and later on, after 2 hours, go to the restroom every 30 minutes. Once your toddler succeeds in using the toilet, celebrate the achievement. This is a big day for both of you. Teach your toddler to wash hands with an antibacterial soap, and explain why it is important.

What About the Nighttime Instructions?

Not just a daytime activity, but your toddler has to learn how to go to the restroom during the night as well. As you keep practicing with him/her, your child will realize the signals automatically. However, during the night, it’s a whole different story. To make sure your kid doesn’t start bedwetting, here are a few tips to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Plastic Mattress Protector
Lay a plastic mattress protector underneath the bed sheet before you make his/her bed. Plus, you won’t have to change the sheets every time he/she wets the bed. However, keep an extra protector, a couple of bed sheets, and a few pajama sets in your kid’s room in case of any mishaps that may occur. This way, you can quickly make a new bed, get him/her into fresh pajamas, and put him/her back to sleep.

Fluid Control
As bedtime approaches, limit the amount of water or any other fluids given to your toddler. When you follow this approach, your toddler won’t go to bed with a full bladder. Another thing you can do is to take your toddler to the restroom just before tucking him/her in. Make him/her wear a pull-up diaper for convenience. Plus, your toddler will understand that he/she is supposed to go to the restroom before bed.

Patience is Necessary
During the entire process, it is you who has to be very patient. As a parent, all you can do is wait. Show your support, never yell or get upset if he/she wets the bed, and always praise him/her along the way. Every time he/she succeeds in following your instructions, show your love and support.

I hope that the tips mentioned in this article were helpful. Whether you choose to follow the guidelines and/or add a few other methods of your own, keep in mind that every step you take towards explaining and helping your toddler, it will bring both of you that much closer to success.

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I am a father of three and my wife is a registered nurse specialized in children.

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