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How do I Potty Train my Child?

I was so amazed the first day that DD1 asked me for potty to poo. She was about 20 months old. I wondered “is this my efforts paying off after months of trying to make her use the potty or she has just developed an interest in using it”. However, with relief and joyful expression, I pulled out her clothes as well as her wet nappy and carefully sit her on the potty. I also stood with her through the process so that she won’t be afraid of using it while alone. This process continued though not consistent as there were days she would insist on not using it. I gradually stopped wearing nappy for her during the day, except for nights. 


At two and a half years old, the use of potty both during the day and night began to make sense to her, she would willingly approach the toilet and take out her potty to use during the day and she would wake me up at night when she needs to wee or poo. Sometimes, she would express the need to poo or wee with some funny gestures (like someone that is pressed and urgently needs to use the loo). Perhaps, she has seen me acted in that manner before, but it’s quite pleasing for me to know that she understands the moment and where she needs to relieve herself. Accidents do occur particularly at nights, but not quite often. As she grows older, she became accustomed to why, when, where, and how to use the potty on her own. 


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In essence, there isn’t the right age to start potty training your child. Every child has a special way of adjusting to any situation or milestone. Usually, most parents are eager to train their child to the use of potty as early as 12 months old or as soon as the child begins to walk, but most children are between 18 months and two years before they show signs of readiness to start the training. However, the earlier the training starts, the sooner the child will get accustomed to the use. This does not imply that you should pressurize your child to the use of potty at a very early stage when she’s not mentally or physically prepared for it. You need to watch out for her show of readiness before you start. You may ask yourself “how will I assess her readiness?”, “what signs will she exhibits when she’s ready?” in honesty, I am not sure if there are common signs that all children display to show their interest in using potty because my experiences with DD1 and DD2 are quite different in this regard. Like I said earlier that DD1 came to me herself that she wants to poo at around 20 months old, DD2, on the other hand, showed interest a little earlier (15 months old) by refusing to put on a nappy and squatting in one corner of the toilet when she needs to wee or poo. This I observed was a result of imitating virtually everything her sister does. So, assess your child’s readiness before you start training. 


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The next thing I did was to go shopping for a colourful potty as well as some fancy underwear which has her favourite cartoon characters on them. These reinforce her interest in using the potty. I often encouraged her to sit on the potty in the morning before breakfast or anytime she’s likely to have a poo. There were times when she’d stay with me in the toilet while I poo, I didn’t usually send her away as I believed that seeing how I poo will make her know-how and where poo is meant to be done. At times, I also used that moment as an opportunity to sit her on the potty and talk to her what is being done on it, and just trying to emulate me was indeed a success achieved. There were times she got me frustrated with her refusal to use the potty that I almost got discouraged, but with continued efforts, she got used to all the processes involved including flushing the loo and washing her hands when she finished using the potty. 


My point here is that you should be consistent in your training and don’t let her childish habits frustrate and dissuade you from your goal. She might show interest in using it today and insist not to use it tomorrow, but your determination and consistency will reinforce her interest. Let family and friends or whoever you feel comfortable leaving your child with be aware of your decision and the approach or manner at which you are potty training your child. Informing these people is important to make the training consistent and more effective in your absence.


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Make it fun and convenient to use the potty. By this, I mean do not subject your child to use the potty only in the toilet as it can be used in the garden or in any room where you are present. Being isolated in the toilet may generate fear and as a result, be discouraged to use potty when needed. 


In truth, I didn’t have tough times in training my kids how to use potty; DD2 learned from her sister DD1, while her sister learned from me through imitation. Children learn greatly by copying their parents, so set a good example and show your kids where to poo and how to go about it. What other easiest way would you have adopted? What other easy methods did you adopt in your home? Please, ask questions, make comments and provide recommendations for other methods to adopt in potty training a child, we will welcome and address any comments as best as we can. 


Best wishes! 

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