When should toilet training begin? First, it should not begin until your child seems to know what the potty is for and can relate the idea to “making messes” in her clothing. For most children, this relationship does not become clear until they are about twenty-four months old. By that age children have enough bowel and bladder control to participate in the toilet training process. If you wait until your child is about thirty months old, she will probably start training herself.
Some parents have children sit on the potty immediately after meals, as if they will eliminate the food just consumed. But since it takes several hours for foods and liquids to pass through their systems, it makes more sense to encourage your child to use the potty when you use the bathroom. She likely will be willing to try to “go” while you are in the bathroom modeling appropriate toilet behavior. Even if she does not use the potty, she will enjoy the attention and verbal interaction.
Since people typically use the toilet immediately before going to bed and immediately after getting up in the morning, encourage your children to try to potty at those times. It also helps to encourage them to sit on the potty a few minutes every four or five hours. Once in a while, they urinate or have a bowel movement when sitting on the potty. At such times your enthusiastic approval reinforces the behavior. If your child wants you to look at what he has done, it is only fair to visually inspect the product of his efforts.
In addition, consistently help your child change clothing after each accident. Tell him calmly he has made a mess and has to put on clean clothes. If you disapprove of the mess, so will your child. Infrequently, children discover messing or wetting their pants is a very good way to upset you. If this happens, simply ignore the behavior for a few days. Even so, you have gotten into quite a bind with your child. …