Time for the Toilet?
When ya gotta go, you've got to go...right?
What about our children? When and how do they learn they need to go? In our family, we were not overly prepared for our son to 'show signs of readiness'. All children are ready to toilet train at different stages, much like all other milestones. As parents, we have personally never followed milestone recommended ages, as a rule book. We are very open to milestones occurring when the child is ready for them to occur.
So when our son started saying "poo" we knew we had begun to enter a game changer in the parenting world! It was at this point that we wondered, 'What are the signs of a child who is ready to toilet train?'
This led us to follow the incredible Laura Morley, toilet training expert of Looloo Solutions. I first saw Laura in a Breakfast interview, discussing how easy toilet training can be.
Immediately, I stalked her on good ol' Google. After this, we connected on Instagram and my husband and I signed up to her VIP Toilet Training workshop. If you think your child may be ready for the toilet training journey, then make sure you check out her website for all the resources, tips and tricks. Laura currently has a FREE 5 Day Getting Started with Toilet Training Challenge which could be just what you need to support the start of your journey.
So what are some of the signs of readiness?
It is important to note that this is not a checklist! Your child may show a few of these 'signs' and could show some other signs also. Your child may only show one or two of them and that's great! As the parent, you will know your child best and feel when its right to begin toilet training.
For our son, you would see 'that look'. You know the look right? Where they pause, their eyes stare at you with a stillness in their expression, maybe even a little, "ohhh" sound of realising what's about to happen. He was also EXTREMELY interested in being in the bathroom with anyone who wanted to use the toilet. Yes, even our poor guests! He would pull the toilet paper out for you and want to flush the toilet. After a few weeks of intentionally using lots of toilet language, we were able to say, "do you need to go toilet?" At this point, he'd run off to the bathroom.
So we knew we had begun on this journey and continued to follow his lead. Along with engaging in the Looloo VIP Toilet Training workshop, we purchased a few items to support a successful transition to the toilet.
NUK kids toilet seat: This toilet seat sits on top of your current toilet seat. The rubber rim and tabs help to keep the seat stable and from moving about. The high front and back support the child while also containing 'wee' spills.
2-Up toilet training step-stool: This two step stool is perfect for encouraging independence to the toilet! The rubber tread stops little feet from slipping, the handles are perfect for little hands moving the steps into position and it is the perfect height! It's sturdy, easy carry and to clean.
Sophia and Mason Learn to use the Loo book: So your child has no idea what they are doing when it comes to toilet training? Never fear Sophia and Mason are here (Looloo Toilet Training Solutions 2019). What a fun way to introduce toilet training language and understanding! Our son absolutely loves this book and it is often read on the daily.
NUK potty: Now there are a range of different strategies in introducing the concept of the toilet to your child. Can I just say, no one is right or wrong. You do you and parent your child, they way you want to. The resources shared here may not be what you are looking for and that's A-OK. For us, we didn't down down the potty route. Why? Because our son immediately showed a positive relationship with the toilet and we thought we might as well start there. If you wanted to introduce a potty, here is a great option.
Wet bags: We also purchased a Wet Bag from Max and Millie. These are perfect for storing wet clothes, spare nappies, dirty cloth nappies and even swimming togs. The best features are the separate pockets so that you are able top separate wet from dry. I also love the domed strap! It easily clips on a bag, meaning that you don't have to add this to a bag you're currently using (e.g. school bag, nappy bag).
We decided to introduce our son to 'nappy free time'. By this, we don't mean being naked all the time (although he loves a good nudie run). Instead, he only wears a nappy at sleep times. When awake, he wears boxer briefs and Wee Pants. We generally save the Wee Pants for when we are going out. They are super absorbent while still allowing the child to feel when they have gone toilet. They hold enough liquid for the child to realise that they've begun going toilet. If your child can start and stop, they're a great form of underwear so they can then rush off to the toilet to finish their business.
PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE
Praising your child can be done in a variety of different ways. Much like the different strategies of toilet training, everyone will have different approaches. You can offer verbal praise, cuddles, stickers or rewards. However you offer praise, remember to continue to encourage through positivity. If your child has an accident, that's ok! Be sure to continue with a positive mindset to avoid regression or negative association.
Below I have shared two styles of progress charts, which you may find useful. They do not have to be a reward chart. They could just be used to track progress for both the child and parent/s.
The progress chart on the left may be more appropriate with younger children. It is only a sticker chart and the sticker is the reward. The progress chart on the right may be more appropriate for older children. The blank section on the right is a space for you to either draw or write the reward which your child is aiming for.
Notice anything special about these charts? They are tens frames. They are commonly used within New Zealand numeracy education (e.g. to teach number bonds to ten).
Not sure what a tens frame is?
Ten-Frames are two-by-five rectangular frames into which objects, e.g. counters, are placed to show numbers less than or equal to ten. Ten frames are very useful devices for developing number sense within the context of ten (NZ Maths).
So while your child is receiving the stickers, they can also be learning their number bonds to ten. Just remember to fill one row first! E.g.This assists in their understanding of:
- Number bonds to ten
- Counting on from 5
- I have 3 stickers, I need 2 more to complete a row (3+2=5)
- I have a complete row, that's 5 stickers. I need 5 more to get my reward (5+5=10)
Download the charts here.
AND just to take this educational opportunity one step further; once your child is beginning to show an understanding of the dots/stickers on the chart, you can begin linking the dot/sticker patterns on the tens frame to finger patterns. For example, look at the tens frame with 7 stickers on it. You can show 5 stickers on the top row and 2 stickers on the bottom row. Then show 5 fingers on one hand and 2 fingers on the other hand. Both have 7 stickers in total. Both need 3 more to complete a 10. Over time, your child will develop the ability to recognise instantly the number of dots (or fingers) without counting.
If you think this concept is too complicated for a child, I promise you it's not! After all, children learn instructions, language and well...everything through introduction. If we waited for our children to understand how to read before we read to them, would they ever actually learn to read?
You could use the same concept of the tens frame for any goal your child is working on. Maybe they're learning to make their bed, brush their teeth, say "thank you" or be kind. I have attached a blank tens frame progress chart for you to use in any way you would like. Just write your child's goal at the top, pop on the fridge and off you go...
I hope that some of this information has been helpful to you. Toilet training can be an exciting journey for you and your child/children. Hopefully some of these resources can support you and your family develop a positive association with toileting.