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When discussing toilet training, we have 3 considerations:

  • Physical;
  • Psychological;
  • Cultural.

1.     Physical factor

Sphincter muscles like any voluntary muscle movements should have some certain level of maturity to function voluntary. It takes about a year for myelination (a thick insulating layer around the axon of a neuron making possible transmission of the signal from brain to certain parts of the body) to go from head to toes. At 9 months there is a physical possibility to control sphincter muscles. By that age the bladder has also increased in size to hold urine for longer time.

2.     Psychological factor

It is important for the child to learn to associate body signals for the need to eliminate with the desire to stay dry. We can help the child to become aware of fluid leaving the body by letting him face a consequence, so the child could start to make a connection. The only way to make a connection is to experience a consequence.

The situation in the modern world is that a parent just has to change a diaper once in a while, which eliminates any sign of wetness. The child does not get any feedback.

It will be beneficial for the child that he can feel wet – cloth diapers or just cotton underwear make it possible.

Cloth diapers absorb the wet without disguising it – so the child will feel wet when he urinates. If we change a cloth diaper and the child feels dry, soon he starts to associate dry with pleasant feeling.

For the adult it is also easier to see a pattern of urinating or defecating, so we know when to invite a child to a potty (usually as soon as the child wakes up, after certain amount of time after eating).

3.     Cultural factor

Our society requires us to go to certain places when we need to eliminate something. Usually this place is bathroom. Bathroom should be a place to put a child’s potty – when we put it in every room, we give the child wrong information that he can iliminate  in any room. If we want to give a child a right image, we have to bring him to bathroom at regular times.

A child's readiness is the fundamental key to their success.  Each child is ready to train in their own time, with the window of readiness being around 18 months.  So, how do you know if your child is ready? 

 ~Language- Your child has to have the language needed to express that they need to use the bathroom. 

 This really only needs to be one word.  

~Staying Dry- Having periods of dryness of about two hours.  This illustrates developed bladder control.

~An Interest in the Bathroom Habits of Others- by either wanting to watch you go or simply wanting to tag along while you go

~ Awareness of Bodily Functions-  For some little ones, this means announcing when they are going.  For others, it may mean retreating to a corner or getting a certain expression when making a bowel movement.  All of these illustrate the same thing- an awareness that they are going to the bathroom.  It is no longer just happening.  They know it's happening.

 To help the child with toilet training:

  • Put a potty in the bathroom;
  • Bring a child there regularly (appr. every 45 min or after waking up, meals etc);
  • Do not overreact to successes or failures (not to react too joyful to the child's success or get furious if he fails. We have to react in a quiet and reasonable manner).

Diapers and body scheme.

Children come to the world with incomplete body scheme – over the months they build it. The body scheme comes from touching, feeling of clothing on the body – anything, that can make the child feel his legs, arms, stomach etc.

When we put a diaper on a child, we cushion the whole genital area. When these vital body parts are desensitized, they are not developed into a body scheme. The child may have difficulties later making a difference between a sexual impulse and a desire to urinate. Cloth diapers help to build a proper body sense.


If we want success in toilet training, we should dress the child for that success:

  • Elastic waistband so the child could go to the toilet himself.
  • No skirts/dresses for a few months for the time of toilet training;

Involve the child in toilet training – we can offer a child to choose his own underpants in the shop, store dry pants in the cubbies, so the child could use them independently.

Keep in mind the reasons for toilet training:

  • Attitude “I can do it”;
  • Correct body scheme;
  • New stage of development.

How to potty train a child in 3 days - http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2012/05/how-i-potty-trained-my-daughter-in-3.html