Are you starting to toilet train your baby and you want to know the right toilet training age? Or you are a mother and have heard remarks like these? “Your daughter is three years old and she is still in diapers? You have missed the right toilet training age”. “In our times, we would potty train the kids before their first birthday. We do not understand what you mothers do”. If you had a toddler who was not toilet trained until he or she was 2.5-3 years old, I am sure the above comments sound very familiar.
Potty training is undoubtedly one of the biggest milestones in the life of a child, and trust me, for a parent too. This is a skill that all kids have to learn and do learn. We need to remember that you cannot force them as you think they have reached the right toilet training age. Some kids take time while many get trained early on. In my opinion, it is more about the signs your child is ready to potty train and not the right age.
In earlier times, kids were undoubtedly trained at an early age. I am sure you have heard stories from your grandmothers and mothers. It is not difficult for grown-up children and adults to forget the regression and the accidents that must have followed the early training.
The view on toilet training in earlier times was very different from the one mothers of our generation have. Children were essentially, conditioned and not taught to understand their body signals. The availability of diapers was less in those times and cleaning many cloth diapers was exhausting. No research says that says toilet training a child before 18 months will do them any damage. What needs to be taken care of is that no unrealistic expectations are set and the parents are not harsh to the child. It is unlikely that children below the age of 1, have any bowel or bladder control and will also not have the physical skills needed.
A child needs to be emotionally, cognitively and physically ready to be able to completely toilet train. And there is no right toilet training age for that. For some children, when they are introduced to potty training early, they have severe consequences. Some children are known to hold back their pee or poop or some take an aversion to the pot and it becomes difficult to train them for a long time. Many kids who are trained early have constipation. Some of the known harmful effects are:
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As mentioned earlier, there is no right toilet training age. You should only start when you think the child is ready. If not, it leads to frustration for both the child and the parents and many times, it backfires. No two children are the same, but there are some signs you can look out for to know your child is ready.
The child will express the desire to use a potty and will show interest. This time can be used to read more relevant content and talking about it frequently and watch videos so that the child shows more eagerness to try.
Most children start sitting in a particular position or hide between curtains and furniture or go to another room when they want to pee or poop. This clearly shows the child has started understanding the body signals.
The child will have a dry diaper for longer times. This indicates the capacity of the bladder is increasing which is extremely important for potty training a toddler.
The child should be able to pull down their pants is a great sign to know that your child is ready to potty train. This time the main aim should be to dress them in clothes which are easy to take off and wear for them.
The child should have the patience to sit and poop. The child should be able to sit still and not get irritated as they have to sit for some time on the pot.
The child when gets potty trained, they get this sudden urge to poop or pee and thus, they will need to run to the washroom. The child should be able to run well so that they can reach in time and avoid the accidents.
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Usually, it is seen that kids are not ready to be toilet trained till they are 2 and some get trained at around 3.5 years. All that you need to remember there is no potty training schedule you need to follow and push the child before they show signs of being ready. There is no way there is a developmental delay if your child is 3 and is not potty trained. All kids are different, some take less time and some take more.
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If you can notice signs your child is ready to potty train, there is much more to do. I am not trying to scare anyone but you cannot be diaper free now. The transition will take some time and there are some tips which can help it to be smooth.
Talking to children helps. Before you decide to go completely diaper free talk to them about how big they have become and can flush the way mummy does. You can also get them underwear they like and make it sound very exciting. When you make the process exciting for them, they will be eager to start soon.
Do not tell them their diapers are smelly or yucky. Explain to them that peeing and pooping is normal. Use normal words so that they feel grown up and are excited about it. Also keep in mind the security of the child, teach them normal names for their private parts and never give baby terms.
It always helps to use the bathroom in front of them. This I know takes away the ‘me’ time but will need to be done. It is natural for kids to do what their parents are doing and they will also notice what the right things to do are.
There are various kinds of potty seats available. One way is to let the baby choose what they like as this increases the excitement. Else, buy something which you feel is good and create excitement around it.
Once the child is ready and you can see signs your child is ready to potty train and you have managed the transition, it is time to start. It might be a tough ride, but the key here is patience.
Once the child is ready, make them wear the pull up diapers. This will help them to pull then down like underwear. This avoids accidents and if there is one, all that needs to be done is take off the diaper.
The best way for a child to understand body signals is to let them go diaper free. The baby will slowly understand there is no diaper and if they do not want to be wet, they need to go to the washroom. Try and keep them close to the pot so that they can react when they feel the urge.
Tell them they are growing up and reward them when they use the washroom. Give them small rewards and slowly phase them out when you see they are becoming more comfortable.
Please understand being potty trained is a big thing for them and nagging them or scolding will not help. The child will take time and can take a few weeks too. Thus, patience is the key. Have realistic expectations and do not overreact when there is an accident. Do not fight over this or compare them to other kids. If you still feel, they need time, just give it.
If you want to know my experience with Little Miss A, I will say it was not difficult though it took time. I finally trained her after her 3rd birthday. I tried a few times but she never was ready as she was scared to sit on the potty seat. Some things that I did which you might want to try:
Toilet training is not easy and there is no right toilet training age. The process can be a daunting one. The thing is to remember is to know the signs and know your child is ready to be potty trained. It will take a lot of patience and work to go completely diaper free. Focus on day time training and then gradually move to night time. Never lose hope as the child will be trained eventually. Have you ever seen 10 year old in diapers? Give them time and they will do it.
“Take a Deep Breath and Remember: Potty Training is a developmental process, not a race”
At what age did you toilet train your baby? What do you think is the right toilet training age? Let me know in comments.
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