in toileting began only “when they had
an interest in it and they seemed ready.”
Toddlers will also express discomfort at
having a soiled diaper. In many respects,
the bathroom becomes a realm where the
child takes the lead.
Attentiveness is crucial for parents.
Watch for clues that your child needs
to go, such as stopping what they are
doing, fidgeting or saying: “Oh, oh.”
But parents also need to feel prepared.
Debow recommends setting aside time.
If you have relatives visiting, a big
deadline at work or are in the middle of
a kitchen renovation, you may want to
wait. There’s no need to rush.
“Prepare yourself mentally and put
all the other things aside for a couple of
weeks until it’s dealt with,” Debow says.
Plan to help your child with this
developmental leap when you can be
enthusiastic and supportive about the
trek from diaper to toilet.
Young says she also borrowed several
books from her local library—she
recommends Once Upon a Potty by Alona
Frankel in particular—after her kids
showed interest in the toilet. She and her
husband also made the bathroom more
familiar and less intimidating.
It can take some time for many young
children to get into the routine of using a
toilet, explains Debow. And staying dry
at night often takes longer.
If you and your child try toileting for
two weeks and make little progress or
your child is resisting, Debow suggests
a break. “You don’t want to push it so it
turns into a negative thing.” |a
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Karen Benzies, a professor in the Faculty of Nursing and a researcher with
the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Calgary, says cleanliness
is an important part of toileting. If you use disposable diapers, your toddler
may not feel wet. Switching to cloth diapers can help toddlers learn to use
the toilet faster.
A cavalcade of cleaning products are marketed to the parents of young
children, but all you really need is a bucket that holds warm water, some
soap, and an assortment of rags, cloths and towels for cleaning children and
Whenever you and your child use the toilet or change a diaper, make
washing both your and your children’s hands part of the routine. “Hand
washing is non-negotiable,” Benzies says. “It’s just something you have to
do, and if it’s something you have to do, then make it fun.”
For more information about helping your child learn to use a toilet, visit
Alberta Health Services’ website HealthyParentsHealthyChildren.ca.
Patience sets the