Toilet Training : Ten Ways You Know They’re Ready

*This post was written in collaboration with Andrex and the Clean Routine.  I’m thrilled to be working with Andrex in the upcoming months to help families be ready for little ones that are starting school in September.

With Eden now finally ready to begin her toilet training journey I thought I would share some of the tips and advice I found while affirming that she was indeed ready.  Some of these may seem obvious, some are a little tongue in cheek, but hopefully it can reassure those that are feeling the struggle of toilet training.

1 They start telling you they need the toilet

This may seem really obvious but if your little one isn’t aware of their bodily functions then they’re not ready. Eden was really difficult to read, she didn’t even have a ‘poo face’, you know, that look they have where they go and squat discreetly in a corner and you can tell however minor the expression is that they’re filling their nappy.  To this day I can’t read Eden in this way, she is absolutely discreet in every way.  Before she started telling me that she needed the toilet I would have no clue when she wanted to go.  When you’ve started toilet training and they’re nappy free, this is a fantastic warning sign when you’re in the middle of the school sports day, or in the queue for a coffee at Costa – RUN, RUN, RUN

2 They won’t keep their nappy on

This tends to be a ‘do or die’ baptism of fire into toilet training.  There’s not much you can do if you have a little on that refuses to keep their nappy on.  It’s at this point you’re either really glad you went with the easy clean vinyl flooring, or wishing your carpet wasn’t cream.  Harsh realities aside though, I can highly recommend dungarees, playsuits for a child that is always trying to take their nappy off that definitely ISN’T ready for toilet training.  It’s a lot more difficult for  your little poodini to make a mess that way.

3 They stop denying when they’ve filled their nappy

It’s only been in the last couple of months that Eden has embraced her bowel movements.  I was becoming more aware that she was an intelligent child who was getting to an age where really she was more than capable of beginning toilet training but when she would be screaming at me that there was ‘no poo’ in her nappy even when I had a baby wipe to her bottom cleaning it up, I realised that it may prove more difficult to start toilet training this one.  If the whole scenario was disturbing her for whatever reason, I wasn’t going to introduce a source of stress into the mix for her.  Judah had been nappy free for about 7 months at her age, so sometimes you put the pressure on yourself, or feel like you’re failing them.  If they’re not ready though, they’re not ready.  It’s much better to wait and make it an easier transition all round than end up making it traumatic for them.

4 They want to start wearing underwear

Being the youngest of four the appeal of knickers and underpants with pretty patterns or superheroes on had a big appeal to Eden.  Even if they did mostly end up on her head or over the top of the clothes she already had on.  She definitely was aware of the difference and wanted to wear ‘big girl pants’.

5 They can stay dry for a few hours

When your little one is able to stay dry through their afternoon nap, or going a few hours at a time without needing to be changed, this is a good sign that their little bodies are starting to master the art of bladder control. I remember this was more difficult for Shayla-Rae when she was little, even to the point we had her tested for urine infections at one point. The girl just liked to drink a lot of water, but it was better to check I guess than not.

6 They can sit still for 2 to 5 minutes

This may seem really obvious but if you have a highly intelligent child who is ready physically, mentally and emotionally to start toilet training but they can never sit still, you may just have to wait a bit longer for them to be ready. It will only result in you and them being frustrated. If this area does become an area of concern as your toddler becomes a pre-schooler and older just always run through any concerns with your GP who will probably put your mind quickly at rest, but can let you know if there are any reasons for this going on. Eden is absolutely wild 95% of the time but she will sit still occasionally and for quite a long time when she does choose to rest. This is definitely a reason we have waited longer to start toilet training though with this little one than her older brother and sisters.

7 They have an understanding of where things belong

This one is a sign Eden mastered very quickly, she was barely walking before she’d be putting rubbish in the bin and helping put washing in the washing machine. She was very observant but didn’t tick a lot of the other points for a lot longer. This sounds simple and maybe obvious, but it will make things go a lot better (and less messy) if you little one knows to go and do a number two on the potty, as opposed to in their cupboard, which happened to my friend’s little girl. She would leave her mummy surprises in many weird and wonderful places.

8 They are going through a cooperative stage

If your little one is going through a particularly interesting phase of the ‘terrible two’s’ or are being an assertive ‘threenager’ it may be better waiting until they’ve got over this little stage. Usually this is only the difference of waiting a couple of weeks as you reaffirm their boundaries. James tells me funny stories of Isis as a three year old deliberately standing on the table to do a wee when she was in a bad mood and didn’t get what she wanted. I bet he wished she still wore a nappy when she was going through that particular stage.

9 They can pull their own pants up and down

Initially this may not seem too big a deal as you’re going to be on hand to help, but if they attend nursery or pre-school this is a biggie, they may not feel as secure asking for help, they also won’t be the only little one being supervised in that type of environment so being able to go and take their own pants down will mean a lot fewer accidents. We stupidly put Shayla in a playsuit once with so many buttons when she was first toilet training there was no way she could even take it off herself and even with help it took longer than the few minutes warning she would give sometimes. Wardrobe is definitely important to consider when toilet training.

10 They can follow simple instructions

I’ve heard tales of people who started toilet training from as soon as their little one could sit up unaided, and if that works for you, then great. Having worked with children with autism and having friends with children that may not have the cognitive abilities even though they physically tick all the other boxes, it is really important not to put too much pressure on yourself. I know from experience some children with extreme autism may be in their teens before they achieve toilet training or later and may always need some level of supervision. I guess I only put this in because you should never feel pressure when it comes to toilet training. Every single child is different and attains their milestones at their own pace. There are many different contributing factors, I only highlight as I had first hand experience with this and have seen friends pressuring themselves unnecessarily.

I hope my little guide is helpful, there’s also more information about the Andrex Clean Routine, if you’d like to have a nosy then just click here. Please if you have any more tips or advice for us then comment below.

Andrex Clean Routine, being prepared for school, first day at school, school countdown, school readiness, toilet training

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