When can my child give up nappies?

Readiness in bowel and bladder control depends on a child’s physiological maturity. It is also a gradual learning process. So it does not mean the earlier the training the better. Generally speaking, if you notice your child shows signs of readiness, mostly at around 18 to 24 months old, you can start toilet-training for her.

What are the signs of readiness for toilet-training?

The presence of any of the following signs may indicate that your child is ready:

  • Her nappies remain dry for at least 2 hours in the daytime or during an afternoon nap
  • Her bowel habit is fairly predictable
  • She can follow simple instructions and show signs of full bladder through facial expressions, gestures, such as face reddened, or saying “wee wee”
  • She shows an interest in going to the toilet or sitting on the potty
  • She feels distressed when her nappy is soiled or wet

How can I toilet-train my child?

Toilet-training needs time and patience to develop your child’s interest. Preparations for toilet-training include:

  • Ensure that your child has sufficient daily intake of fluid and fibres to avoid constipation
  • Let your child has a potty that she likes. It should have a wide base so that it will not tip over. Put it in a convenient place where your child can reach easily and it should stay in the same spot. Let her try to sit on the potty before you start toilet-training.
  • Tell her stories or play games about toilet-training with her; or you may let your child to follow you to toilet so that she can learn by imitating
  • During the day, let your child wear loose clothing and pants that are easy to pull down.

Observe whether your child has a regular bowel and bladder pattern. Bring her to the toilet at such times. Gradually, adjust her time to use the toilet to fit into her daily routines. Watch for signs when your child needs to go to toilet, ask her if she wants to have a wee or a poo, then encourage her to take off her pants and sit on the potty.

If she passes urine or stool in the potty successfully, do praise and encourage her. You can give her some rewards immediately to increase her desire to practice. If she wets or soils her pants, clean it calmly, then remind her again the steps in going to the toilet. If she sits on the potty for a few minutes but does not pass anything in it, you still have to praise her for sitting, then let her get up.

What can I do if my child refuses going to the toilet?

If your child refuses to go to the toilet, do not force her. Wait for the next time. Children do vary in the time for toilet training. Some may be trained in 3 to 4 weeks’ time while others may take longer.