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Child Rearing & Toilet Training

by Angeliki Coconi, studioD

Toilet training can often be challenging, as well as intimidating, for some parents. However, as long as the child is ready and willing to learn, it can prove to be one of the smoothest and most trouble-free aspects of child rearing. Ensure that your child is entirely ready and effectively prepared, keep a positive attitude and allow room for mistakes. Remain calm and patient, provide the child with examples as well as instructions, and your little one can master toilet training easily.


Your child needs to be ready to take this step, according to Patrick C. Friman, Ph.D., Director of Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health. Putting pressure on your little one is only going to slow down the process as well as make him resent you. As getting ready for toilet training takes longer for some kids, keep in mind that you may have to be patient and wait longer than other parents tell you they had to. Your child will let you know when it's the right time through his actions. He will start experiencing discomfort due to his diaper, he will begin expressing the desire to use the toilet, and he'll most likely ask you for directions and help.

Example and Directions

For toilet training to begin, your little one should be at least 2 years old, according to Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., biological anthropologist and creator of "Parenting Science." Only then will he be able to understand your instructions, successfully follow your example and fully understand what using the toilet involves. After he has reached the right age and you have established that he is ready to make the move, let him watch you. This will allow your little one to see how it's done. At the same time, provide him with simple instructions that will guide him through the process. If you have his full attention and he manages to follow your instructions and example correctly, you know he was ready for it. If not, consider trying again a few days later.

Potty Training

Before moving on to the toilet, or perhaps alongside toilet training, let your child practice using a potty. Let him pick it out, let him choose where he wants it placed, and let him explore it, investigate it and get comfortable using it. Give him space and time, while actively showing him the way to use the toilet, if you feel he's ready for it. As a last step before he can reach the toilet without your help, place the potty in the bathroom, next to the toilet. This way, he can watch you using the toilet while he sits on the potty, which will greatly simplify toilet training for him.

Praise and Reward

As this may be challenging for your child and feel strange at first, rewarding his efforts and praising him every time he does it right is a good idea, according to Patrick C. Friman, Ph.D., Director of Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health. If he doesn't succeed, show him you're not disappointed and give him a smile. Be patient and sympathetic when he makes mistakes or when small accidents happen. When he manages, stress what a good job he did and reward him using stickers or engage him in an activity he enjoys.

About the Author

Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.

Photo Credits

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