Potty Training: Getting Down To Business

Potty Training: Getting Down To Business

Potty training can be a different experience for every family. Some children might be able to master it quite quickly while others may cry and fuss, making the process considerably harder. For parents who are about to start this process with their children, Samitivej Hospital is happy to offer techniques and tips to help make potty training not only a successful process, but also a stress-free and non-frightening experience for the entire family!  

Signs Your Child Is Ready

When to start potty training your child is equally as important as the training techniques you choose. Some parents are quick to remove their child’s diapers and sit them on the toilet even though the child can’t balance himself or the toilet is too big. If parents start the training process too soon, the child can become stressed out and scared of using the toilet altogether which can lead to constipation or even long-term illnesses. As parents, you must remember that there is no need to pressure your child. Children develop at a different pace from each other, and if you start potty training your child when he or she is not ready, it can make success more difficult to achieve.

Even though there isn’t a strict rule, parents can start potty training their child around two and half years old. You will start realizing that your child is ready if he or she is displaying the following behaviors:  

  • Shows an interest in toilets, potties or wearing underwear. Begins pulling off their diaper when he or she wants to go.
  • Able to understand and respond to basic questions such as, “Do you have to pee?” or “Do you want to go to the toilet?”.
  • Able to communicate with an adult through words or expressions that he or she wants to go to the toilet. Parents must always be observant of their child’s behavior.
  • The child can squat safely

Getting Prepared

Not only does the child have to be ready, parents themselves need to be prepared for potty training by acquiring items that might make the process go more smoothly and successfully.

The following items might be useful for both the child and the parents:

  • Potty – Before letting your child sit on an adult toilet, you can start small by having them use an appropriately-sized potty. Potties come in different patterns and colors. Letting your child choose their own can make the training process more fun and interesting.
  • Small steps to help the child reach the seat of an adult’s toilet and support their feet when sitting.
  • Toilet training seat to help the child sit more comfortably on an adult’s toilet.

Applying The Techniques

The two most important techniques in potty training are the breathing technique and the sitting technique.

Parents should teach a child how to breathe properly when he or she is using the toilet. The child should put his hand on his belly, breathe in fully until his belly is swollen and hold in his breath. The child should sit on the toilet with both knees higher than the hips. Then, when the child releases the air they have been holding in, they can go to the toilet easily.

The child should be sitting on the toilet with their feet firmly on the ground or on the supporting steps, their bottom on a toilet seat that fits their size, their knees higher than their hips and their body slightly leaning forward. Having something to hold onto can also help the child sit up with confidence. Sitting in this way positions the child’s intestines directly with the anus, making defecating a smoother process. The child should also have something to put their feet on if their feet are dangling from the ground.

Potty training cannot be done over two or three days. It usually takes one to three months before it is successful. In some cases, it can even take up to six months. Therefore, parents should be patient and refrain from pressuring children. Focus on cheering, encouraging and complimenting instead. Your child should be happy and having fun when using the toilet. It should not be a stressful ordeal, as it is a natural process.  

Tips and Cautions

Other than teaching your child the right breathing technique and sitting position, parents might also benefit from the following tips and cautions:   

  • It is not advisable to use toys or story books with your child during potty training. It is a process that requires concentration. By creating a distraction with toys or books, it can lead to the child sitting too long on the toilet seat or trying too hard for too long, possibly resulting in hemorrhoids or other serious issues.
  • Explain the process to your child in a clear and interesting manner. Familiarize your child with the potty, the toilet and the bathroom.
  • If your child is scared, a parent can demonstrate by sitting on the toilet and flushing it so that the child can see that there is nothing of which to be frightened.
  • A child should defecate at least three times per week. Parents should not administer an enema rashly, as it can lead to a more severe case of constipation, wounds or frightening the child from using the toilet even more.
  • Parents can help the child defecate by massaging the belly from the right lower side, up to the above belly button, and down to the left lower side.

  • Having your child drink orange juice, prune juice or milk regularly can help keep constipation at bay. A child should have a balanced diet with three meals per day, including fruits and vegetables with fiber.
  • Parents should always be aware of their child’s health. If he or she is bleeding while going to the toilet, struggling so much with potty training, or exhibiting other abnormal symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.

Most importantly, parents should approach potty training with a positive attitude. Do not pressure, scold or punish your child. It is better to make it a fun and happy experience for parents and children!

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