Toilet training assumes a lot of importance during the toddler stage, and rightly so. Like all parents, especially mothers, I had been wanting to toilet train my daughter for a long time. I mean, who does not want to get rid of dirty diapers and wipes and all the other nuisances that come along with it. Once she turned an year old, her pee and poop both become a little adult-like, since she has started eating the food we used to eat at home. We rarely cooked specially for her and she would have the normal daal-chawal-roti-sabzi we ate. Ofcourse, we kept the spices to a minimum.
When she was about 18 months, I tried to potty train her. And, I FAILED. So much so, that unlike before when she would atleast announce “poo” before peeing in her diaper and “paipoo” before she did her potty, she stopped doing it. My attempt was so bad that now she would just sit by herself in the dirty diaper without giving me any hints. Yes, tough week for me.
I totally left toilet-training here, making her wear her diapers and panties and not at all talking about using the toilet.
When she turned 20 months, I decided to try again. This time, I decided to break the potty-training chore in two- training my child to pee on her own in the bathroom, and then training her to sit on the pot with the support of a soft, cushioned potty seat. I never invested in the potty-pans or plastic potty seats, I trained her to sit on the commode and do her business. And believe me, she can go pee on her own in the bathroom, on the floor, and also poop on the commode with the soft potty attachment.
Training a child to pee on her own
Now, I am not going to claim that I trained my daughter in 3 days flat, or there were no accidents. There were, plenty and she took about a week to pee on her own, yet needing assistance to help with her panties. So if you are looking for some magic to happen in 3 days, I guess you may be disappointed. Toilet training a child is not a child’s play – and it requires a lot of patience, perseverance and hard-work.
So here’s what we did to train my daughter to pee on her own –
We let go of diapers during the day – we still used them at night.
Remember, one thing at a time, so my focus is to teach her how to pee, and not poop. I let her relieve herself in the diaper every morning, like she used to do.
After bathing her, I’d keep her diaper free, stressing again and again that she should let mumma know when she needs to pee. Since she had coded pee to poo, she’d say ‘poo’ and that would be the indication that she needs to be taken to the toilet.
The first day, she’d indicate she needs to go, but would not hold herself for as long as it needed to reach the bathroom. I kept my calm, cleaning again and again, and kept on telling her that she needs to pee in the bathroom and tell mumma when she needs to go.
Our second day was much better. I had kept a bucket of water that could be splashed on the floor of the bathroom. Once she was able to hold her pee and urinate in the bathroom, I asked her to put water on the floor, which actually became a motivating factor for her.
By the third day, she would go to the bathroom on her own, lift her panty down and pee. Half success – celebrated!
Training a child to poop on her own
Now that she was off diapers during the whole of the day, she’d still need one when she needed to poop. She would say out loud when the need would strike, and I’d make her wear a diaper. Instantly, she would poop, we would clean and done and dusted.
However, I wanted her to use the commode.
To this effect, I started to tell her how everyone poops in the commode and started to market the potty attachment I had earlier bought. Luckily, she took interest and in two days she was sitting on the commode to do her business.
Gradually, I put up a stool to help her feet to rest, and she started to use the commode for her pee as well. I allowed her to flush after every use, which made it exciting for her and she would want to do that often. Like really often.
She would climb on the stool and wash her hands with assistance after using the toilet. She really did not have any accidents till today, now that it’s been a month of this routine.
Though we still use diapers when we go on long trips or are out and about for longer durations.
Do’s and Don’ts of Toilet-Training a child
Summing up my takeaways from the whole experience of teaching my child to pee and poop at 20 months –
- Hygiene: Kids touch everything and anything. Make sure you keep the things you don’t want your child to touch away. You will have to be extra careful – make sure the bathroom is clean, disinfected and washed everyday
- Be patient: Take your child to the toilet every 20 minutes when you start, gradually working on extending the time to 30 minutes and 1 hour. That’s indeed a lot of patience when put into practice
- Motivate: My daughter loved the water – and that’s what worked in our favour. She was happy that she could flush, wash her hands, get the soap on and then wipe them. Find out what would motivate your child
- Never pressurise: That’s what went wrong the first time. Make it a play – you can fail, but continue to try. Never, ever pressurise a child.
- Be mentally prepared: When you start this, your child will go to the toilet like 15 times a day, And you will have to accompany him or her with the same enthusiasm – every time. So be prepared for this
- Weave stories: Whoever your child idolises, weave stories about how they use the toilet on their own. Kids have a natural instinct to follow whom they like. Remember, it is about stories, not comparison
- Ask and ask again: While playing or when engaged in an activity, your child would not want to use the bathroom even if he or she needs to. So repeatedly ask if they need to go, and chances are you will succeed
- Accidents: Accidents will happen – do not react negatively to them and do not insult/threaten/scold your child. Huge No
- Stick to routine: Very, very important. You can’t have a potty training session one day and switch on to diapers the other. Do not try toilet training a child if you are not sure about the days ahead
- Bribe them good: Ha ha! So yes, if you are bribing them, bribe them with good choices. Like an extra 15 minutes of rhymes, or a new story. Outdoor play may be extended to 15 odd minutes. Though a pack of M&Ms will also work fine, but I don’t think it’s a very good idea!
Honestly, it is a huge relief that my diaper days are a little, not far, behind. My daughter feels free and happy, and I feel her growing up. Which isn’t a bad thing, is it?
Share your experiences with me! All of us can help each other!