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Many parents/ guardians and indeed child practitioners, struggle with this area of child care. But being armed with relevant information can greatly reduce any stress that may arise. Here are a few pointers to aid the exercise both at home and school.
Firstly, it is very important that you do not start toilet training until both you and your child are ready. You are ready when you are able to devote the time and energy necessary to encourage your child on a daily basis. Signs that your child is ready include the following:
1. Your child signals that his or her diaper is wet or soiled.
2. Your child seems interested in the potty or toilet.
3. Your child says that he or she would like to go to the potty.
4. Your child understands and follows basic instructions.
5. Your child feels uncomfortable if his or her diaper is wet or soiled.
6. Your child stays dry for periods of 2 hours or longer during the day.
7. Your child wakes up from naps with a dry diaper.
8. Your child can pull his or her pants down and then up again.
You may start noticing these signs when your child is 18 to 24 months of age.
1. Allow your child to be present when you go to the bathroom and make your child feel comfortable in the bathroom.
2. Allow your child to see urine and bowel movements in the toilet.
3. Let your child practice flushing the toilet.
4. Before toilet training your child, place a potty in your child’s normal living and play area so that your child will become familiar with the potty. Consider placing a potty on each floor of the house if you live in a multilevel home.
5. Allow your child to observe, touch and become familiar with the potty.
6. Tell your child that the potty is his or her own.
7. Allow your child to sit fully clothed on the potty, as if it were a regular chair. Do not force your child to spend time sitting on it.
8. After your child has become used to the potty and sits on it regularly with his or her clothes on, let your child become comfortable with sitting on it without wearing pants and a diaper.
9. Show your child how the potty is used.
10. Place stool from a dirty diaper into the potty. Allow your child to observe the transfer of the bowel movement from the potty into the toilet. Let your child flush the toilet and watch the bowel movement disappear down the toilet.
Once your child has learned to use the potty, your child can begin using an over-the-toilet seat and a step-up stool for the regular toilet at home.
Your child may have an occasional accident even after he or she learns how to use the toilet. Sometimes, children get too involved in activities and forget that they need to use the bathroom. Suggesting regular trips to the bathroom may help prevent some accidents. Setting 15 or 20 minute intervals can help avoid those accidents. If your child does have an accident, stay calm. Do not punish your child. Simply change your child and continue to encourage your child to use the potty/toilet. Celebrate and make a big deal about the child on using the potty successfully to encourage them.
Every child is different. It may take as long as 3 to 6 months for your child to be toilet trained during daytime. It may take longer to teach your child to use the toilet during nighttime when his or her bladder control is reduced. It is important for you to be patient and supportive. If after a few months, your child is still resisting or having difficulties with toilet training, talk to your family doctor. The most likely reason your child has not learned to use the potty is that your child is not yet ready for toilet training.

Article Compiled by
Jennifer Kimani
Head Teacher of Kiota School