Many children begin to show signs they are ready to be nappy free during the day between the ages of 18 months and 3 years. Girls are typically ready a bit earlier than boys.
Many of the tips are the same for boys and girls, the main difference with girls is:
The Importance Of Proper Wiping
It is vital you teach your girl proper wiping. To avoid UTI's (urinary tract infections), always teach your daughter to wipe front to back or to pat-dry. (UTIs) are not common in children, but they are more likely in girls than boys. Take her to the doctor if she:
- needs to wee more frequently, or feels a sudden need to go
- says it hurts to wee and complains of tummy or pelvic pain
- starts to wet her pants after having established good bladder control
Then the tips are pretty much the same for boys and girls
Are They Ready?
If you answer yes to most of these questions your child may just be ready to give toilet training a go.
- Is your child showing signs they know when their nappy is dirty or wet?
- Are they stopping and making a face when they poo
- Are they showing an interest in you going to the toilet?
- Can they pull up and down their pants themselves?
- Can they follow simple instructions?
- Do they dry for a couple of hours at a time?
Is The Time Right For You And The Family?
There will be accidents and you will need patience and time so it is best to avoid times where there are big changes coming up. Just before another baby is due, or before you go on holiday may not be the right time.
Be clear and consistent
Get everyone in the same household, day care etc to use the same language. For example: “it is time to go for a wee, a pee, number ones etc. You need to wipe your vagina, your front bottom, whatever word you want to use.
Do not ask “Do you want to go to the toilet” as many children will automatically answer “no”. Say instead: “come on, it is time to go to the toilet”
Get prepared before you start
Decide whether you will use a potty or the toilet, or both
If using the toilet, get a toilet seat insert as many child have a fear of “falling in”.
If using the toilet, get some steps. As well as making it easy to get on the toilet, it is also better for their bowels if they have something to push their feet against when doing a poo.
Training Pants - Disposable pull ups can feel just like nappy’s and make it harder for your child to get the signal they are wet. Also, many children soon learn they can wee in a pull up and not have to interrupt their play to go to the potty. Cloth training pants offer you some absorbency and protection, but your child will also feel wet. They then start to learn it is easy to go to the potty than be uncomfortable in wet pants.
Wet bags - Essential for going out and about. Put some undies, shorts and wipes in the bag then if there is an accident. You have a change of clothes and a waterproof bag to bring home the wet clothes.
Books - Books can make it easier for your child to understand what is happening with their bodies. We have books such as “Princess Polly’s Potty and Pirate Pete’s Potty. Stories to read with your child.
Car Seat Protectors. Children are quite a bit older before they understand their bodies enough to say “I need to go to the toilet in 10 minutes”. Whilst you are training, the majority will say “I need to go now”. Which isn’t much use as you are driving 100km down the motorway or stuck in traffic. A car seat protector helps in those situations, plus are handy for coming home in wet togs / bathers or eating ice cream in the car.
Let’s face it – toddlers love attention. When they do a wee or poo, clap, ring dad or Nana, celebrate with a potty dance. Show them what a huge milestone this is.