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Toilet Training

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Going to the bathroom is something we all do every day. At some point, though, we need to learn about it. Dr Joe Kosterich talks about the basics of toilet training, including having patience, picking the right time, making your toddler feel secure, and how to go about it.

Going to the bathroom is something that we all do everyday. At some point, though, we needed to learn about it and most of us can’t remember when that happened.

Hi, I’m Dr. Joe.

At some stage we all have to be toilet trained because, let’s face it, as we grow older we all need to sit on the toilet. As against perhaps cats and dogs who can just do their business wherever they find themselves, humans are a bit more organised for a variety of fairly good reasons.

Toilet training is not intrinsically difficult, some children will get it, if you like, a little bit quicker than others but everybody will get it eventually.

So what do we need? Probably the most important thing in toilet training is patience and picking the right time.

Now, about picking the right time it’s sort of saying that yes, it is a little bit age-specific and variably people will attempt this at maybe 2, 3, 2 and a half, 3 and 2 months, somewhere around that age. But because each child is different, you can’t have an absolute “one size fits all.”

So, what that means in the first instance is when you think your child may be ready you can start the process going, In going from nappies to using a toilet there are some mezzanine steps, and obviously these are things like the potty, and also these days, because children often get quite concerned about the size of the opening of the toilet seat, having modified seats that you can put on that are smaller so the child feels more secure.

Making a toddler feel secure is very important in toilet training. And, as I said, being a little bit patient. If you set out and find that after a week or a couple of weeks you’re going nowhere then don’t be concerned about taking a step back and maybe trying it a month or two down the track.

What are the basic points? As we say, it is quite simple. It is about teaching your toddler to sit on the toilet rather than just be wandering around in nappies. So you need to be able to convey to your child what it is that you are wanting them to do on the toilet.

Being positive about it is really, really, important. It’s no use scolding or yelling at a child who doesn’t quite get it. It’s not that they don’t want to do the right thing if they’re not quite developed enough or their brain connections are not developed enough. It will happen. You don’t see too many 20-year-olds who are not toilet trained. So we all get it at some stage.

Being quite positive, rewarding the successes without in any way chastising the negatives is really, really, important because otherwise the child is going to get scared of what might happen and this can become a real problem because if they do get scared they will tend to hold on, and if they hold on then that can lead to constipation, stomach pains and then you get quite a miserable child.

Are there any specific techniques? There probably are as many different ways of going about this as there are parents. The keys are about being patient; it’s about conveying the simple concepts to your child; if you want to, and it’s a little bit easier for the blokes, you can show what to do: stand there and nothing like watching to see what happens and that works. Keep it very simple in terms of the descriptions.

Today, fairly easy compared to bygone years because we have things like pull-ups that children can wear to stop accidents during the day and help boost their confidence other than unnecessarily running around with wet clothes.

If you’re going out with your child whilst you’re toilet training take a spare pair of clothes. This is really important because children can become a bit self-conscious when they know you’re expecting something of them, and being able to change clothes quietly if an accident occurs is going to make them feel a lot better.

Ok, so to sum up, and this may sound a little bit strange, toilet training is almost easier done than said. A little bit like a child learning to walk or learning to talk, it’s something that you can encourage them with and support them and sometimes show them a little bit how to do it but there’s not really books you can read on the subject or manuals to follow. It’s not a high-intelligence issue, it doesn’t require a special degree or anything in particular, it really just requires you to do what is a little bit innate, and that’s to be a parent: to support your child, to lead a little bit by example, to be reinforcing, and just to show them the way.

Everybody that’s watching this video has been through the process themselves and we’re all here and we’re all ok.

Your child will be on the same boat.

More information

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Posted On: 12 October, 2010
Modified On: 22 June, 2015


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