Toilet Training

Dr Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 02/21/2001  Last Updated: 08/01/2015

Patient Education

Parents often want to toilet train their children as soon as possible. However, do not start toilet training until both you (parents) and your child are ready. If you try to rush it you'll have more problems and toilet training will take a longer time. Usually, your child is ready by the age of 18 to 24 months.

You know that your child is ready for toilet training when:

  • He or she can signal that the diaper is wet or soiled

  • When your child is able to tell you that he would like to go to the toilet (or she may not be able to go to the toilet in time)

  • His or her bowel movements are regular and well-formed

  • Your child is able to remain dry for about two hours at a time.

When your child is ready for toilet training (when your child shows interest) the transition may go much more smoothly. Staring with a potty-chair may be useful as it may be more comfortable for children rather than sitting on the big toilet. Allow your child to sit there even when he or she doesn't want to pass urine or stools. In households with Indian toilets, timing the sitting with bowel movements may be useful.

Toilet training may take up to 3 months. It is important to be patient and supportive. Accidents may occur and do not punish your child for these accidents. However, always praise your child when he or she remains dry or uses the toilet.

Children usually first achieve control over their bowel movements (since they are solids, they are easier to retain) than on urine control. Most children may still wet at night even after they learn to use a toilet during the day. Sometimes a stressful condition like a new baby, an illness may cause a child who was toilet trained to start wetting again. Try to be patient and praise your child for success.

Once the child has learned to pass his poops and pees into the toilet, the next step would be to get him to wipe himself clean. Cleaning should be from front to back (cleaning back to front may increase the chances of getting a urinary tract infection). Help the child learn to flush the toilet and wash and dry the hands.

Most children when allowed to take the initiative on their own usually learn to be toilet trained quickly. If a child refuses to be toilet trained, the most common reason would be that he is not ready yet. Always consult your doctor to rule out medical causes that are leading to problems of elimination.

Toilet Training Toilet Training 2015-08-01
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