One of the greatest moments in parenting is when your child moves from a diaper to the toilet for the last time. There will be a time when you put an ugly soiled diaper in the bin for the final time, I promise. While it is a goal for all parents to get there as fast as possible it can be a difficult process. Here we lay out our top tips to get your child toilet trained quickly.
It may sound counter-intuitive but the key is not to rush it. While a baptism of fire approach works for many things it does not work for potty training. This means you can not just surprise your child one day and say, today the diaper is gone, and hope they figure it out. They won’t. It is not about control either. I know so many parents who once their child moves from a diaper to the toilet are dragging him to the bathroom every half hour and ensuring he pees the moment he wakes up and right before bed. This is an approach taken when all hope is lost. Follow my guidelines and all hope will never be lost.
The first approach is to let your child know the change is coming. Pick a date in the future and make it well known. It helps if the date is a special occasion already, maybe the third birthday or something else. However, if that is nothing possible just create a special occasion. I told my son that we were celebrating him becoming a big boy. I told him that he would get presents, and we would sing and dance. This got him excited for the big day, not afraid of it.
You will need around two months between the announcement and the day itself so plan wisely. From there you should just talk about it every day. When you are cleaning the diaper talk about how he is nearly a big boy (or girl) and won’t need the diaper soon. Talk about it in such a positive tone that your child will feel like Christmas is around the corner. After the first month when your child knows what will happen but is still not ready, let them run around without a diaper a little bit after being cleaned up. This will start to make them think more about how everything starts and stops.
To date, they have never had to control pee or poo. If it needs to go, it goes. In the second month, you give them more time without a diaper so they just start to think hmm I need to control that now. This may result in a few accidents but that is all part of the process. It is a good idea to buy them some underwear that they really like, maybe with their favorite cartoon characters on it. They will be excited to wear it then.
Finally when the big day comes. They will be delighted and so will you. You change them over to underwear and explain again where they need to go to the toilet and to ask you for help if they need it. For the next week, things will be crazy. They will pee and poo by accident all the time. Don’t get mad. Simply tell them, pee (or poop) goes in the toilet, I know you will get it next time, I trust you. And slowly, day by day, more pee and more poo will be in your toilet.
I have found that at some point in that first real week they will start to act out a little. Pee in silly places to see how you react. Again don’t get mad, simply tell them pee goes in the toilet and that you trust them. The reality is that even kids don’t like to be covered in pee or poo so they will start to change their process quickly.