Creating a Routine

Now you are underway you need to make sure you maintain momentum with toilet training.  The best way to do that is through routine and consistency.

Toddlers learn best if you have set out your expectations and have given him clear guidelines for his behaviour. You can set out a routine that may involve rewards or tools that he can clearly understand.  Remember these will need to be followed by other people that come into contact with your son such as family or carers, so they need to be manageable and consistently applied, especially in the early weeks or months.

Some of the elements you might want to include in a routine are:

  • Your boy tells you every time he feels the need to wee or poo.
  • Specific times of the day when your boy will try to go to the toilet.
  • Your boy pulling his trousers and pants down before and/or after using the toilet.
  • Regular praise after each successful toilet visit.
  • Using a reward system e.g. stickers, star chart, or treat.
  • Helping with holding wipes / paper (wiping comes much later).
  • Washing hands after going to the toilet.

How to motivate and reward your potty training boy:

  • Naturally this will depend on the toddler.  For some kids just the thought and desire to grow up or be like their parents will be enough, especially where there is an older brother or sister.  For other boys the gaining of control over bodily functions will be a strong motivator.  But for many the combination of parental praise and tangible rewards will work best.
  • It may seem unnecessary, but being enthusiastic about your boy’s accomplishments will encourage him to progress positively.  This doesn’t just have to be for doing a good wee or poo in a potty or toilet.  Don’t forget things like climbing onto the toilet seat, pulling down pants, telling you when he wants to go, avoiding weeing on the floor, or flushing.  There are lots of opportunities to show your boy that you are proud of his progress.   This doesn’t mean you should overdo it – don’t get so carried away with the cheers, claps and hoots that you boy feels like a failure when he has an accident.
  • In terms of a reward system, there are lots of options here, including stickers, treats, training packs, star charts and many more, just make sure that you are in a position to maintain the system and keep consistent.  Many experts note that the rewards should be kept small and phased out as your boy starts becoming more adept at toilet training.  For us, after the first few days/weeks we moved from stickers and small treats to high fives and cuddles.  And eventually you just want it to become second nature and natural and not requiring any such motivational efforts.

What to watch out for:

  • Naturally there will be good days and bad days. It might seem like you are making real progress only to find there is a sudden setback.   Sometimes things can happen that trigger these and other times it could just be that your boy is having a bad day.
  • We recommend that you should really try and avoid suddenly using nappies when it becomes inconvenient for you to have your boy in pants (unless of course the alternative is a disaster you cannot deal with!)  It can be confusing for your child and cause problems.
  • Occasionally if your boy gets angry, frustrated or emotional he will find his toilet training routine harder than at other times, and there will be accidents.  The key is to not turn it into a fight, remain calm and positive, and move on.

To follow the case study of one boy, read The Diary of Laurence – a potty training boy aged 2 and a half