By LaToya Cook, TC4 Lead
When it comes to toilet learning, everyone has to be ready: mom, dad, brother, sister, anyone taking part in the process. When you're ready, it's important to then gather all the materials needed to start: cotton underwear, an area that the child feels comfortable changing, a toilet that fits the child's comfort level, clothing that the child can work with, and the support from everyone participating.
When starting the toilet learning process, the child should be in cotton underwear throughout the day. This includes running errands and during nap time as well. At bedtime, the child can be put back into a night time pull-up as this will be another transition a little later.
Some families choose to use a small plastic "potty" that their child can work with on their own. I would strongly recommend having an insert that goes on top of a real toilet as the children see everyone else sitting on a real toilet. When having an insert, you may also need to provide a step stool to allow the child to get up and down off the toilet by him/herself.
It's important to implement a set schedule for the child to use the toilet daily. As with all families, everyone's schedule may change each day. When toilet learning, the child should keep a consistent schedule at least until comfortable with using the toilet. The child needs to be reminded that there are toilets everywhere they go: Target, King Soopers, any other places that you may be taking the child during this process.
The child should be offered the toilet every two hours or if he/she seems to need it. If you notice that your child is wetting his/her pants or having a BM in his/her pants at the same time every day, that is a perfect time to be sure that they sit on the toilet.
Toilet learning can take from three weeks to three months. Being patient with the process is of the utmost importance. Supplying the child with the materials, time, space and support will make toilet learning successful.