Training the children for toilet is a big issue for parents. It is perceived as a big developmental milestone. But the real problem starts when we start comparing our kids with others. Every child has different pace of developing milestones. And few accidents regarding Susu (Urine) and potty (Stool) once in a while should be dealt with patiently. Compassionate and encouraging attitude towards toddlers will help us better, than showing frustration and anger.
What is the age when our baby will be ready?
- First action which suggests that your baby is ready to train is when baby start to tell you while doing susu or soon after that before you take notice. And when baby is praised for telling the same, they will soon be telling you before doing.
- Most babies should be ready by 2 years but some may take time until they turn 3.
- Girls are ready earlier than boys of similar age
- Control over susu comes before potty
- Other features which indicates that your baby is ready for toilet training are
- Telling you that his nappy is wet
- Pulling at wet or dirty nappies
- Baby does not want to wear nappies any longer
- Shows interest in others using toilet
Patience is the Key to success in this case too. Most problems arise when we start too early or we want our baby to be trained before certain major event in our life. eg arrival of 3nd baby, family marriage, long planned vacation, before going to play school. If we try to put pressure on child it will only worsen the case and increase your frustration levels.
How to train your baby
- Teach your child meaning of words needed to define urine, stool, dry, wet , it’s coming. Choose words you are comfortable with eg susu, potty, wet (geela), dry (suukha), etc. Clear words and constantly same words to be used by everyone at home will make it easier for baby.
- Need to have thing with you which are needed like toilet seat (different types are there, choose which ever you are comfortable with), footstool near the seat so that baby can climb up, proper lighting in the area, something to hold on while sitting on toilet seat so that baby will feel safe and relaxed.
- Keep the area safe. Keep toilet cleaner, household cleaner and other toiletries out of range of children.
- Talk to your child, if you are comfortable you can let your baby go along with you and tell them all the steps you are doing like cleaning flushing etc.
- Learn the signal which baby gives before, keep your toilet ready (because your baby won’t be able to hold on for long), loose cloths which can be easily removed.
Few important things you need to know:
- Never start toilet training when something new is happening and child is trying to adapt. eg change of home, grandparents leaving home, arrival of 2nd baby, you are very stressed out etc
- Give your child time to get familiar with stuff in toilet (so that they are not scared). Eg let him touch the toilet seat, feel it.
- Encourage an appreciate child’s behavior and things when they tell in time. Hug them or cuddle them and say something like “You are good baby”. And always support them if they do in their pants.
- Never embarrass or punish your Child. It will only worsen the situation.
- Remember it is very difficult skill to learn for child and it will take time. The more you support your child easier it will be for them.
- Hygiene: Girls should be taught to wipe front towards back to avoid chances of getting the potty into vagina and Boys should be taught to shake penis after susu to get rid of any drops.
- Teach your child to wash hand every time and also assist them in early stages of cleaning.
“Toilet training works best when there is no pressure for either the parent or the child”.
- If you are stressed out or getting angry seeing that your baby is not learning, it is best to leave it for few days and do not pressurize your child. Punishment will never help.
- Some baby will hide at some weird place and do susu or potty. Like behind the sofa, or curtain or cupboard. You need to be patient and support them and no Punishment.
- Most babies will make a mess after doing potty; they may soil their hands and spread it. Do not punish them but also do not pretend to be happy about it. Child should know that it is not good in non threatening way.
- Constipation can make things worse as doing potty becomes painful and child try to avoid passing stool and is afraid to sit on potty seat. Give warm bath, it may relax the muscles.
- If a child who has been dry, start to wet again then look for causes of stress or visit a doctor to rule out urinary infection. Features suggestive of urinary infection include:
- Increased frequency, pain during susu
- Blood in susu
Consult a doctor if even after age of 4 years child is wetting pants to rule out Urinary infection, bladder abnormalities like Vesico ureteral reflux and behavioral issues like BED-WETTING.
- Toilet training is not easy and child needs your support during this difficult phase to learn this new skill.
- Go slowly at your child’s pace,not as per your need or wish.
- Praise child at every step and encourage him/her.
- Do not get dishearten by few accidents (susu & potty) after child had been dry.
- Punishment has no place in toilet training.
Dr Rahul Varma