Bye-bye, diapers

Bye-bye, diapers
The first time your toddler uses the potty turns the page on an entire chapter of growing up. But even if you can’t wait to be done with diapers, it’s important not to rush things.

The first time your toddler uses the potty turns the page on an entire chapter of growing up. But even if you can’t wait to be done with diapers, it’s important not to rush things.

Parents aren’t the ones who decide when it’s time for potty training. “Children become potty trained when they’re ready,” says psychologist Marie-Ève Brabant. This happens when they gain control over their bladder and bowels, between the ages of two and four. “To figure out when to begin potty training, parents should look for signs that their child is ready,” Brabant explains.

Here are a few clues to watch for:

  • Your child is curious about what happens in the bathroom (e.g., he follows you when you go in).
  • His diaper remains dry for several hours.
  • He can get partially undressed without any help.
  • He understands simple instructions and communicates his needs (e.g., “Want milk”).

“If you’ve noticed these signs, you can start potty training your child,” says Brabant. “But if things don’t go well—if your toddler refuses to sit on the potty, for instance—wait a few months, then try again.”

That’s exactly what Marc and his wife did with their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Olivia. They made a first attempt to get her interested in using the potty last summer, but to no avail. They decided to take a break and give it another go in the fall.

Did you know?
Before the age of four, children need their parents’ help to wipe themselves properly.

“We took advantage of the Thanksgiving long weekend to get Olivia to try wearing underwear,” says Marc. “Of course, there were a few little accidents, but that helped her recognize when she needed to go. We’ve also put a sheet of paper in the kitchen where she can reach it that says ‘Olivia goes pee-pee in the potty.’ She adds a sticker every time she goes. It’s a great way to keep her motivated.”

There’s no point forcing a child who isn’t ready to be potty trained, reiterates Brabant. “Your toddler might lose interest in using the potty. That could also cause problems with constipation, making your child want to use it even less.”

Patience and support

Some children will become nighttime and daytime potty trained at the same time. As Brabant explains, however, “One often comes before the other. Sleep can affect a child’s ability to control the urge to go, so nighttime potty training may take a few months longer.” It’s also worth noting that little slipups are normal, even if potty training is going smoothly. “Olivia has the occasional accident,” says Marc, “but we never scold her for it. Instead, we make sure to give her extra praise when she goes the whole day without any incidents.”

Toilet trepidation
To help your little one feel more secure, it’s recommended to attach a training seat to the toilet and provide a small stool for your child’s feet for added support and stability.

 

Naitre et grandir.com

SourceNaître et grandir magazine, January–February 2018
Research and copywriting: Julie Leduc
Scientific review: Solène Bourque, psychoeducator

 

Photo: gettyimages/Alija