Ask Rainbow: Toilet Training

Roxeanne Marberl is the new director of Rainbow Kidschool. She has worked in early childhood education for over 25 years, most recently at St. Thomas the Apostle Nursery School. She is from the Espanola- Elliot Lake area in northern Ontario and has two boys. Photo by Lucianne Poole.

Roxeanne Marberl is the new director of Rainbow Kidschool. She has worked
in early childhood education for over 25 years, most recently at St. Thomas the
Apostle Nursery School. She is from the Espanola- Elliot Lake area in northern
Ontario and has two boys. Photo by Lucianne Poole.

Compiled by Lucianne Poole

Do you have questions about your toddler’s development? Rainbow Kidschool can help. Founded in 1967, Rainbow (Carleton Preschool) is a community leader in child development and preschool. Send us your questions via Facebook at www.facebook.com/rainbowkidschool. Learn more about us at www.rainbowkidschool.ca

My child is three years old and still wearing diapers.  Should I be worried?

There is no need to worry. Children learn at different rates. Toileting skills are no different.  Most children will tell you or show you when they are ready to use the toilet on a regular basis. Using the toilet, or not using the toilet, is one of the things that young children have control over.

When a child has expressed a genuine interest in using the toilet or begins to realize the sensation of peeing or bowel movements, you’ll know it is time to start toilet training. It is best to start at home, where they are most comfortable. If your child is also attending a child-care centre, talk with their educators and let them know what you are doing at home so that they can continue it at the centre.

If your child is uncomfortable sitting on the regular toilet seat, go together to purchase a potty or small training seat.  Children will also enjoy shopping and choosing what will replace their diapers or pull-ups. This gives your child security that they are part of the decision making.

Once your child begins using the toilet, remember that there will be setbacks. When children are involved in playing or in an activity, they often forget they have to go pee until it is too late.  Reassure your child that everything is OK. Accidents will happen. When and if an accident occurs, encourage your child to tell you and work together to clean up.

Some children may express interest in toileting at an early stage and then suddenly lose interest.  This is common.  Children are curious, they may see older siblings or parents using the facilities.  They want to try it as well but have not actually developed awareness of the sensation. Continue to encourage their curiosity while allowing their independence.

There are many ways to try to encourage toileting. Whatever you choose, remember to follow your child’s lead.

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