When my son was still a baby, I thought that the toughest part of being a mom was breastfeeding and changing diapers. Toilet-training? What’s that?
So when my son turned two and I realised some of his peers were already being toilet trained, I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t ask my mom or mom-in-law for help (not that they don’t want to help, they are just unable to), so I sought advice from friends and got information from books and websites.
But to be honest, I’m not one of those hardworking moms who would pour over tonnes of books to learn how to do it. So when it comes to the ‘mechanisms‘ of toilet training my son, it was more of experimenting and see what works.
We got him a potty but he refused to use it. He treats it as a toy instead! So I decided to plonk him directly on the “great white throne” and without a trainer seat. I had wanted to buy one but after what some fellow Singapore mom bloggers shared with me, I decided not to get one and it worked fine!
Thankfully, I’m now midway through the toilet-training. My 2.5 year-old son goes diaper-free most times except during his afternoon nap and night time. But these days, he would usually wake up with a dry diaper, so I think it’s more of my issue than his. However, if we are out for long, I still put him in diapers. I fumbled a few times in helping him pee in public toilets and got his pants wet so I decided I need more practice before letting him go diaper-free when we are out.
And I must really thank my fellow Singapore mom bloggers for sharing generously with me their experience and tips. So I decided to put together some useful tips from them under three main areas of concerns of toilet training. Read on to find out how to toilet train toddlers:
1. When to start toilet training?
Jean Chua: During olden days, babies are trained earlier. They were put on the potty at a specify timing everyday to do their ‘business’ till their bodies get into the routine. We can do that too but I feel if a child is not ready, then we will have a harder time.
A child is more or less ready around 2 year-old for going diaper-free in the day and around 3, 4 year-old for the night. Some might even be earlier if parents work hard on it.
Having a child who is ready also prevents developing any unpleasant experiences that may end up making him feel put off by the whole thing. I also think that having a less resistant child would make toilet training easier.
Susan Koh: I think children will be ready when they are ready. We tried potty training our girl at 2 and didn’t have realistic expectations. In the end we were frustrated and she was very scared to poo in her diapers and ended up being constipated for almost a year! Thankfully, she’s toilet trained for the day and most nights since she was almost 3.
2. Potty or trainer seat?
Dominique Goh:I’ve done without the potty and there’s less cleaning up if you use the trainer seat. It will also be easier to train your child to use public toilets later on.
Sharon Lavender: We skipped the potty. My boys poo on the “throne” and without trainer seat, just an IKEA stool for resting their feet so they will not fall backwards into the toilet bowl!
Jean: I used a potty for my first kid and half way through, I just put her on the toilet bowl. Tried the trainer seat but realized the hole is too small to wash her butt when she pooped so skipped that after a few tries. When it comes to my second child, I skipped both potty and trainer seat.
Ming Yuan: All along I used the trainer seat as it’s easier to clean. But the success rate was not too high as I have to keep asking and prompting my girl and sometimes she thinks it’s a hassle so she rather goes in her diaper. But once, she saw her cousin used the potty and decided to use the potty too as she can “self-help”. But after potty-training, she will use the adult toilets too when we’re outside so I guess it’s just a step-by-step for us.
3. Night time toilet training
Amie Chen: For night time toilet training, I would wake my girl up shortly after midnight to go to the toilet. I also stop letting her wear training diapers. But I have to consistent in the night training (which means I have to wake her up every night) until she is able to do it herself. You can use the waterproof mattress. I recently bought the saddle type of waterproof mattress cover & changing it is a breeze for me (see the waterproof mattress here).
Jean: When we did night time toilet training with our son, we talked to him of what we were going to do together. We explained and prayed with him and proceeded that very day. He saw me laid a waterproof sheet underneath his bed sheet and asked, so I explained to him.
Then, we reduced the amount of milk he drinks at night and made him go toilet just before bedtime. We woke him three hours later to go toilet again. For the first week, he went to toilet twice. For the second week, I overslept and totally didn’t wake him for his second round, he also slept through. The next morning, I jumped up from bed, thinking that he must have wet himself, thankfully, he didn’t. He was able to hold till morning.
These days, if he can’t hold, he will go to toilet himself and return to bed. I believe every child has their own pace and timing in learning something.
Another tip is let the child go without diaper during afternoon naps first. Once that is fine, transit to night. Night toilet training might be slightly longer if the child is not ready, so go easy. If it doesn’t work, try again when he is older.
Jennifer Lim: Night time toilet training was a headache for me. My son urinated on his bed so many times that the mattress stinks.
A nurse once told my hubby that when a child is ready for going night toilet he will do it naturally. True enough, when my son was 5 year-old he woke up in the middle of the night to go toilet himself. Also, I leave a tap light on in the toilet so he can turn on the light when he goes to the toilet.
4. Other tips
Jennifer: It’s important to reassure a child that it’s ok to accidentally pee in his pants or wet the bed. Also, getting underwear with their favourite character helps. I got Bob the Builder for my son and told him, “You don’t want Bob to be wet right?’ It helped to some extent but there were still “accidents”.
Dominique: There is a potty training CD + book that I used before that is quite effective. Here’s the website.
Do you have any other tips on how to toilet train toddlers? Please share them!