Potty Learning Tips and Tricks

Starting toilet learning with your little one can feel like a daunting task.  It is a HUGE milestone in your child’s development!  One that will need lots of understanding, communication, and practice.

I’m here to provide some tips and tricks to make your toilet learning journey a successful one:

  • Development plays a huge part –  It is important that your child is mentally and physically mature enough to control when they pee and poop. Research shows that if a child starts toilet learning at 18 months old, it will take closer to ten months to work.  The younger they are, the longer it is going to take! 
  • Don’t start too late – if you are starting toilet learning with a child over 3 years old, it can bring on certain challenges as their need for control and independence becomes stronger. Ensure older children are given lots of choices so that they feel a part of the process!
  • Look for the 9 signs of readiness before you start.  You will notice these signs of readiness around two years old. 
  • Choose a method: Learn about the parent led method and the child led method – both work. It depends on your lifestyle and what you prefer.  The parent led method works well for parents who enjoy routine and works well for kids that attend daycare.  The child led method is great for parents who have a relaxed timeline for their child to learn.  It is also great for children who are struggling with the parent led method, holding their poop, and having accidents.
  • Constipation will make toilet learning more difficult – ensure those constipation issues are addressed first before proceeding with toilet learning. It is essential that the poop is mushy and easy to pass.  If your child is constipated, they may associate the toilet with pain during bowel movements and start holding their poop. 
  • Avoid constipation by ensuring your child has an adequate amount of fluids and fibre.  Monitor your child’s stool pattern and talk to your child’s health care provider if you notice signs of constipation.
  • Remember that your child does not want to have accidents and are not trying to misbehave if they do have them.  They are most likely feeling frustrated and overwhelmed just like you are.  Toilet learning can be frustrating. Give yourself and your child lots of grace!

In order to help your child become internally motivated to use the toilet, focus on using encouragement style statements when they use the toilet. The Mama Coach method recommends the ratio of encouragement versus praise to be 80/20.

Our Toilet Learning ebook states: “Praise teaches children to be dependent on others and invites children to seek approval for their actions which may lead to disappointment.”

Here are some examples from the ebook: 

Statements of praise with regards to toilet learning may sound like:  “Wow, you peed in the potty”, “You made mama so happy”, “You are such a big boy”.

Encouragement will help your child take pride in their own accomplishments and will help them in the long run.  

  • “I can see you worked really hard to get to the potty on your own.” 
  • “How do you feel?  I hope you feel really proud of yourself.”

Remember that practice makes perfect! It will take time for your child to become more confident as they are learning a new skill.  

Check out our events section for upcoming toilet learning workshops if you are hoping to get more information.  If you are interested in the Toilet Learning ebook, it is included when you attend a workshop.  Looking for some extra support as you embark on your child’s toilet learning journey? Reach out to the Mama Coach in your area!  We would be happy to do an assessment and create a plan with you!  If you have already started and have encountered some challenges, we would love to help you too. 

We are here to make parenthood easier!

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