I have not heard people talk about ‘walking training; or ‘running training’ or ‘eating training’. Children will walk when their muscles are ready to carry their weight, run when they can confidently hold their balance and eat when they are hungry. Children will urinate and defecate when their body urges them to.
The ‘training’ really is about us teaching them how to inhibit themselves. We want to keep them and their clothes clean until we get them to a toilet, but frankly, children don’t care whether or not they are dirty or clean. They like to have a full belly, be warm when it is cold and be comforted when they are hurt, but they have no notion of hygiene or anything else. Mess? What mess? Dirty? Well, if you say so….Hygiene and cleanliness is a learned behaviour. It is really an adult problem and often turns into a battle of wills between parent and child unnecessarily. Ignorance and a perception that toileting has to be mastered preferably by the age of two are the main causes.
The quickest way to have a child use the toilet is the slow way: allow the child to follow you into the toilet when you use it. Tell him what the pot is called. Tell him what it is called what you do, how you clean yourself and wash hands afterwards. Over time tell your child that first you have to eat good food to make your body grow big and strong and all the stuff the body doesn’t need for that day, goes into the toilet. Just the same as putting all the kitchen scraps and food you can’t eat in the compost bucket.
Give the child a turn sitting on the toilet and even if they don’t relieve themselves take them through the motions. Keep it matter of fact. Steer clear of disposable nappies when the child can walk and you are home. With a towel nappy or towel pants you can see when the child has wet or pooed herself. Make the obvious statement: “I see that you have done a wee. Let me take you to the toilet” and go through the motions of sitting her on the toilet and cleaning up including the washing and drying of hands. This way it becomes a habit the child will have for the rest of her life.
The next step is that your child will come and tell you tell when he has done a wee, because by now he has learned and can appreciate the feeling of being clean and dry, but still needs your assistance. This can’t happen with disposables, because they drain the moisture away from the body. Once their little arms have grown long enough so they can reach, they can do it themselves. There is no need to bribe a child, no need for drama and no need for any form of manipulation.