When my baby was just four months old, people wanted to know if she rolled over. When she rolled over they wanted to know if she could crawl. When she crawled, they wanted to know if she could stand up on her own. When she started walking I thought the questions would end. However the next question posed to me was if she was toilet trained. My maid suggested that I hurry up and do it before putting her in a play school. At the age of 14 months I was not sure if my daughter would be able to tell me when she felt the urge to attend nature’s call. She was already familiar with the potty seat because at the age of 6 months she was constipated and her pediatrician recommended that I should make her sit on it. So soon after breakfast she was plopped on the potty and she would have a bowel movement. However she could never tell me that she wanted to go.
I consulted her pediatrician again. She asked me to wait till 18 months before trying it. She said that most of the children are physiologically (bladder control) ready for potty training around this age. And even if I didn’t succeed, I should wait and try again because some children take longer to get toilet trained. So after my kid crossed 18 months I started toilet training. During the day I did not use diapers and reserved them for naps and night times. Every hour I used to make her sit on the potty and repeatedly use the word pee. Giving her something to drink half an hour prior to this helped a lot. The moment she peed I would praise her generously but if she didn't I would never berate her. This is very important because any negative association with this activity will cause your toddler to be scared and you will not be successful. Within a period of 15 days my daughter learnt the word pee and soon she started telling me when she wanted to pee. I was amazed and so glad that I waited because within a month’s time my kid was toilet trained. There were more misses than hits but my patience paid off big time.
Important tips for toilet training:
1) Wait till the child is ready. Only when the child is able to tell you through words or action (grabbing his crotch or grunting) he is truly toilet trained. This period can be anywhere between 18 months to three years of age.
2) When your baby is able to sit, as early as possible make her sit on the potty for 10 minutes at least. She need not do anything, but she should sit still on the potty. This will help her to be familiar with the potty and later on during potty training she will not be scared to sit on it. Books or toys can be used to keep them occupied. What helped me the most was a potty song by Timon and Pumba -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHRHyWH-Vmg. This song is so funny and by far the best one for potty training.
3) As adviced by my pediatrician as well, buy a simple potty which can be used initially and then move on to the potty seat that can be placed on the commode when the child is older and will not fall.
4) Use a specific word for pee and motion (it can be in your mother tongue also, but has to be something simple that the child can pronounce) and whenever your kid pees you have to say this word. This is for the child to associate the action of peeing with the word pee. Same goes for bowel movement also.
5) For peeing, initially make them sit on the potty every hour till you get an idea of the frequency at which they pee. For bowel movement, soon after every solid meal make them sit on the potty and make grunting noises.
6) Be consistent and patient. Consistency and developing a routine helps because the child knows what is expected of him. Patience is very important because it will take a lot of time before your child is completely toilet trained. Praise the child generously whenever they do their business. Reward them with stickers, stars etc.
7) Never shout or berate the child in case of accidents. Be calm and tell the child, it's ok, next time we will use the potty.
8) Do away with the diapers during the day when the child is awake. Use diapers only while the child is sleeping. Also using an underwear with their favorite cartoon character helps a lot. They definitely don't want Dora or spider man to get wet.
9) Start night time training at least 6 months after the child is toilet trained for the day.
It is very essentIal that you wait for your child to be ready. Even if you start early your child will be trained only when he is physiologically and psychologically ready. Don't get bothered by family and friends who may compare your kid to others of his own age. You as a mom are the best person to know your child and can decide when the time is right.
For night time potty training tips please click here