Navigating the Journey of Toilet Training: A Guide for Parents
Discover the emotional aspects of potty and toilet training and learn effective strategies to help your child transition from diapers to the bathroom.
Toilet training is a significant milestone in a child’s life. It’s not just about recognizing the signs that your child is ready to use the bathroom independently, but also about choosing the right moment for teaching. A stress-free environment in the family will greatly facilitate your child’s adaptation to using the bathroom.
For children, following a routine is crucial for stable emotional development. This routine provides them with a sense of security, and it’s essential to maintain it when introducing new changes in their lives, such as toilet training. On an emotional level, it’s also beneficial to pass the ‘denial or no’ stage, where children are more resistant to change, making it more challenging to teach them.
Several signs may indicate that your child is ready to start using the bathroom and stop using diapers:
These signs typically begin to occur when the child is 18 to 24 months old. However, many children may still need diapers until they are 3 years old or more.
Preparing an action plan is necessary. If your child attends nursery school, is cared for by grandparents or a caregiver, it’s important to coordinate the strategy with them. The method can be radical, replacing the diaper with underwear, which may lead to more leaks and cleaning of accidents; or mixed, alternating diaper hours with hours of underwear, especially during long car journeys, and at night, since night control is usually acquired later than day control.
Your child doesn’t need to meet all the requirements on the list but keep in mind that if you start too early and they are not ready, the training to teach them to go to the bathroom independently will take longer.
Many parents prefer to wait for the summer, as fewer clothes are used and unexpected accidents are less of a hassle. Regardless of the time you have chosen, be patient and never scold your little one for their accidents, as they are involuntary, normal, and part of their training.
Remain calm and lovingly encourage them to use the toilet, keeping in mind that it may take months for them to control toilet training. Remember that it has been a very short time since they have developed their muscles to contain their needs.
The so-called ‘reinforcements’ are the best gift you can give your child when they have managed to pee or poop in the toilet. Your approval and recognition are vital for them to continue their learning process and not give up or suffer a setback.
We hope you successfully navigate this stage with your child. Even if it seems long or difficult, remember that it is a time of growth that will not repeat itself and that passes quickly.
Toilet training is a significant milestone in your child’s life, marking their transition from infancy to toddlerhood. It’s a journey filled with trials and triumphs, accidents, and achievements. As parents, your role is to guide, support, and celebrate each small victory along the way.
Remember, every child is unique and will progress at their own pace. Patience, understanding, and positive reinforcement are key to making this journey a successful and enjoyable experience for both you and your child.
While it may seem challenging at times, these moments are fleeting. So, cherish this special time of growth and learning, as it is a phase that will not repeat itself. Here’s to successful toilet training and the many more exciting milestones to come in your child’s life!
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This article was written by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa
Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents and families. Since 2016, she has run a Psychological Center in Venezuela called Psicoluz. She offers workshop facilitations to parents, is involved in recreational activities for children, and has been working as a freelancer since 2017 performing online psychotherapy.