I began teaching baby Alisha how to use the toilet when she turned one. Despite her toilet training being slightly derailed by the birth of our second child, now at 18 months of age, my baby can tell me when she is doing wees or poos and happily goes to the toilet as part of her daily routine.
When I started looking for tips and advice on toilet training, I was dismayed to find that most baby development experts advise parents against starting toilet training before aged 2. They claim that before this age, toddlers are incapable of controlling their bodily functions or understanding the concepts necessary to toilet train them. Well, baby development experts, why is it that when we were kids – back in the days of cloth nappies – were most babies fully toilet trained by the age of two?
With this in mind I decided to defy the so-called experts and start teaching baby how to use the toilet anyway. Over the preceding months I had noticed that every morning after finishing her milk, Alisha always did a poo, so I decided this would be my starting point. I began sitting her on the toilet every morning and since day one, more often than not, something has come out.
After about one month on this routine, I decided to up the ante. When we were at home, I’d let Alisha roam around nappy-free. Despite the mess, through this “cold turkey” approach we achieved two things: firstly, I learned more about exactly when and how often Alisha needed to go, which helped me to figure out how often I should take her to the toilet. Secondly, this approach worked wonders at teaching baby exactly what doing wees and poos felt like.
Some of the other strategies I used for teaching baby Alisha about going to the toilet were:
- Repeating the word “toilet” as much as possible while pointing to it until Alisha understood what it meant and could say the word for herself.
- Saying “poo-poo” or “wee-wee” as it was coming out to give Alisha the words to explain what she was feeling.
- Praising with cheers, claps and cuddles whenever we had a successful toilet visit.
- Never punishing her for accidents.
- Never saying that poos and wees are “yucky”.
- Looking for signs that she may want to go to the toilet, like grabbing at her crotch or passing wind and asking her if she would like to go to the toilet when these occurred.
- Taking Alisha with me when I went to the toilet or leaving the toilet door open so she could see how the big kids do it.
- Making toilet time fun by singing, reading and playing games while she is sitting on the toilet.
- Limiting toilet stops to 5 -10 minutes only.
After six months of teaching baby Alisha how to go to the toilet, my baby can now tell me that she needs to poo and wee either right before it happens or as it is happening. My baby can also climb on and off the toilet, flush it, wipe herself and wash her hands all by herself. Considering that I haven’t been able to give Alisha’s toilet training 100% focus since her new sister arrived, I’m pretty proud of our effort. We still have a lot of accidents of course, but I think we are about three quarters of the way to success – pretty good considering the baby development experts claim it can’t be done!
(p.s. something like the potty featured could be a useful part of your strategy – we all know how youngsters like to copy the big kids! Available
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