Potty training an Infant is the next step in the Three part series ofPotty Training. Again I want to stress on the fact that you can’t really train a child for his bowel and bladder movements, you can however read the signs from them and act accordingly. At an infant stage the bladder is still not able to ‘hold in’for longer periods so we will first concentrate on the bowel movements.
If you have an infant between 1 year to 2 years of age here are the toilet training tips :
CHECK THE READINESS : It doesn’t matter whether YOU as a parent are ready to ditch the nappies, have ample time on hand and are all gung-go about potty training. The only thing that matters is whether your CHILD is also ready for the potty training business. There are some simple signs that you must check before starting Potty training :-
a) The Child is aware of his need to go and is able to demonstrate this need by making grunting noises, running or even saying some words.
b) The Child can understand and follow simple instructions like sit down, get up etc and also has the vocabulary to understand words related to poop, pee, toilet etc.
c) The Child is able to sit down and get up without support. The child should also be able to pull down his/her clothes down.
d) The Child shows that he/she dislikes a soiled nappy and wants to be changed immediately. The Child should demonstrate an interest in the bathroom habits of the elders present in the house.
e) The Child must not be going through some other major milestones like walking, teething etc. For example if a child has just learned how to walk it will be quite difficult to get them to sit still for 5-10 minutes on a potty chair. Also make sure that the environment is conducive i.e. you are not moving houses or there should not be lots of guests in the house when you decide to start toilet training.
BRING OUT THE EQUIPMENT – You need to buy a sturdy, stable and ergonomic potty chair for your child. There are a lot of options available in the market with really attractive colours, music and other accessories. Before buying let your kid sit in each one and see if he/she is uncomfortable in any of them. Go for a potty chair which has the right height for your baby, has a removable bowl, is easy to clean and yes, looks cute.
CREATE A ROUTINE- If you are sure that your child is ready to start potty training and you have the perfect potty chair then start by making a routine. Every morning before or after the breakfast you can ask the child to sit on the potty for some time. The first few times you can leave the nappy on so that the effect bare bottom on the potty chair surface doesn’t scare your child. Once the child is comfortable you can start removing the diaper. If you have used some verbal cues in potty training your baby, you can use them here too. Slowly but steadily the child will understand that potty chair is the right place to go for eliminating. When a stable routine forms, you can remove the verbal cues because by then the child will be accustomed to the potty chair.
EXCITE, ENGAGE AND ENCOURAGE- Many children freak out at first when they sit on the potty chair. My daughter did too, so I started creating a buzz around the whole process. I would show so much excitement about her sitting on the potty chair that she thought it was some experience not to be missed. Initially I would sit besides her till she did her business and engage her with stories or story books or some silly games. Slowly she was independent enough to use the potty chair on her own. If your child is scared of the potty chair remove it and introduce it again after a few weeks.
Whenever the child uses the potty chair successfully, praise them or use some motivational tools like sticker charts etc but only after they are done. Similarly don’t be hard on them if they are not able to get the hang of it quickly.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE– There can be a lot of setbacks in the process of potty training. You might do well for weeks and suddenly one day your child will soil themselves without warning. Never try to rush your child to do their business on the potty chair. It is a new skill, it will TAKE TIME. Don’t go overboard by completely ditching the diapers and if there are accidents handle them with grace and never take it out on the child.
So these were my tips based on my experience with my daughter. What about you? Do let me know your potty training tips through your comments. If you have toddlers at home, please read my last part in the Potty training series next week.