It’s very likely that you have heard stories of some parents who have toilet trained their toddler in just a few days. While it may seem too good to be true, it is indeed possible. So here are 8 ways to potty train your child quickly.
As you read on, remember that quickly neither means overnight nor just does it mean a couple of days!
In this article:
- Know if your child is ready
- Facilitate to increase awareness about three things
- Never ask
- 5 Minutes – Not more
- Never force
- Respond to incidents – Responsibly
- Change only in the bathroom
- Ensure comfort – Always
1. Know if Your Child is Ready
The first and foremost important thing you need to know is whether or not your child is ready for potty training. If he isn’t ready, then there may be a possibility of potty training getting delayed by a few weeks or even months. It all depends on how you follow the process.
The question therefore is: How to know if your toddler is ready? To know if he is ready, you need to look for just two things:
First, he should be able to stay dry for at least one to two hours at a stretch, which generally happens at around the two year mark.
Second, he has to be doing soft form poos. In other words, you have to ensure that it’s not the hard form (constipated kind). If they are, you may want to hold off potty training until this aspect has been addressed.
2. Facilitate to Increase Awareness about Wet, Dry and Dirty
The next thing you should do things is to facilitate and increase the awareness in your child about what is wet, dry and dirty. This requires you to do things that are uncomfortable, but that’s what will fetch rewards – both for you and your child.
This means getting rid of nappies and nappy pull-ups, because they’re excellent at absorbing the moisture following a pee, but (unfortunately, if you will) makes it almost impossible for him to sense or feel that he is actually wet because of his own deed.
To increase his awareness about wet, dry, or dirty, you will have to swap out that nappy with an underwear or training pull-ups. Training pants usually come with an extra layer of absorbent material which is sewn into the crotch region and can soak up those little dribbles and small incidents while on his way to the toilet. They of course can’t absorb big incidents.
Since the underwear or training pants stay wet in case of dribbles or big incidents, it ensures that he will learn the difference between wet and dry. And once he understands the distinctions, it becomes way easier to potty train your child quickly.
In case you’re not quite ready to get rid of nappies because you just can’t stand the inconvenience that comes with incidents, you can continue to allow him to wear it. Having said, you just have to get him wear undies inside the nappies.
Using underwear or training pants, or just placing undies inside nappies does three things:
One: It allows your child to feel the difference between wet, dry, and clean.
Two: It also increases his overall discomfort once he has wetted or soiled himself. Generally, children don’t like the sensation of feeling wet, which motivates them to try and use the toilet or the potty, or change their pants.
Three: It gives him a sense of control and independence, as he is able to pull his undies on-and-off when he’s hopping on and getting off the toilet; which is a skill that he’s going to need forever in the future.
3. Never Ask
This is critical! Never ask him, “Do you want to go to the toilet?” When you ask such a direct question, you will find that 9 out of 10 times, he’s only going to say “No”. That’s because most children dislike going to the toilet and consider it a boring task and would rather prefer to play and have fun.
So what do you do? Well, the next time you see him jumping on the spot and is showing you that he needs to go to the toilet, instead of asking “Do you want to go to the toilet?“, you need to just highlight what you are see him doing and what it means.
Simply say, “You’re jumping on the spot, which means your stomach is saying it needs you to go to the toilet. It’s potty time” (or something closely similar).
When you say words like “jumping”, “stomach” and “needs you to go”, you are taking away the option for your child to say “No”, because you’re not asking a question and only making a statement.
By making such a statement, you are also increasing his awareness of what his body does when it’s trying to ‘communicate’ to him that he needs to go to the toilet.
4. 5 Minutes – Not More
When you do take your child to the toilet, make sure he sits on the toilet for a maximum of five minutes or less and not more.
This way, he will see sitting on the toilet seat neither as a punishment, in which case you should reduce the size of the toilet seat, nor as a fun activity (kids sometimes do). He should look at it just as a normal every day necessary activity like being in the bathroom or bath tub for a bath.
You also want your child to realise that when he goes to the toilet, the only reason why he has come there is to pee or poo, and that’s the only thing a bathroom is meant and not to just sit and stare at things around. These are subtle but critical things he need to understand as soon as possible.
5. Never Force
Always remember that if your toddler initially refuses to do it into the potty or toilet, it is absolutely okay. Never force him to do it. Doing it in a potty or toilet is one of the last skills he will achieve before he is fully toilet trained.
Some of the reasons why children refuse to do it in a potty or toilet can be weird. For instance, they think they may get sucked into the toilet (they’re children, after all), or the sensation they get when water splashes on their bottom makes them uncomfortable.
To help your child overcome this (weird but normal) fear, you need to use a gradual 3-Step approach to potty train your child quickly.
Step 1: Get your child to be comfortable doing it in the bathroom, or the same room where the toilet is. Just simply allow him to continue to wear his nappy, but ensure he does it only in the bathroom.
Make sure you never let him do it hiding behind the couch or do it in his bedroom behind his cot. When he has finished doing it in his nappy, and when you take his nappy off and flush, say “Poo gone in the toilet” as you flush it away. This is a subtle way of telling him that it can be done away with only in the toilet.
Step 2: See if he is ready to use the toilet. If he’s not ready yet, that’s okay. Just allow him to use the nappy while doing it, but encourage him to sit on the toilet as he does. This way, you’re getting him one step closer to using the toilet the normal way.
Step 3: Once he’s comfortable doing it in the nappy (yes you read it right), you can then see if he’s ready to use the toilet. If he is not yet ready, just cut a hole in the nappy, make him wear it and let him go. When he does, it gives him a sense of security, as he is able to still feel his nappy while doing it, which he is used to. Once he does this 3 to 5 times, make him sit without the nappy.
6. Respond to Incidents – Responsibly
You need to embrace the fact that in the process of your child learning to use the toilet, there are going to be some unpleasant incidences. It’s just part and parcel of the toilet training process.
But that’s where you should know how to respond to such incidents, as it determines how often such incidents get repeated and how long the toilet training process will continue.
Showing your disappointment, frustration or anger by screaming, yelling or even shaking your head and hands in disapproval to your child after an incident is likely to only increase the number of such unpleasant incidents.
This is because your toddler may become fearful of your response on one hand, and fearful of the toilet on the other. Therefore, instead of screaming or yelling at your child following an unpleasant incident, just stay calm and say something like, “Oh! I can see you’ve pooed and your pants are wet. Come, let’s go to the toilet and get cleaned and changed.”
Responding to unpleasant incidents responsibly is a very critical thing you need to understand and do well if you want to potty train your child quickly, as it deals with managing the emotional aspects of your child during potty training.
7. Change Only in the Bathroom
It is absolutely important that your child gets changed into a fresh pair of clothes only in the bathroom or the room where the toilet is. He should not get changed even in the dressing area of the bedroom, let alone changing in the bedroom.
It means he shouldn’t get changed in any other room. Period. This way, you ensure that your child gets adequate opportunity to go through this routine and have enough practice of the steps required for using the toilet – in the toilet.
This will also necessitate him to practice pulling down their pants and their underwear, sitting on the toilet to finish, wiping their bottom, pulling up their underwear, then flushing the toilet and then washing their hands – all by himself.
8. Ensure Comfort – Always
It is very important that your child feels comfortable when he’s sitting on the toilet, as he has to be able to relax his muscles to do a pee or a poo. This cannot happen if he is busy trying to hold himself and trying to stop falling off the toilet seat.
And make sure that his knees are at a little higher level than his hips, which is one of the most important fundamentals on how to potty train your child quickly.
Potty training is a time-bound process. Like any other aspect of development of your child, how much time your child will take to get potty trained depends on many factors. If you can develop deep understanding to the process and demonstrate patience with your child during most if not all the challenging situations, you will be able to potty train your child quickly.
Related Article: 2 Important Tips for Successful Toilet Training
Disclaimer: The content in this page and across this website are for informational and educational purposes only. In case of any concerns about your child’s growth and development, please contact your professional child healthcare provider.