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Dr Catherine
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2-4 years

Starting pre school in Aug 15

As with all children it is best not to begin toilet training until the boys show signs that they are physically and mentally ready and interested. When children experience significant developmental delays then chronological age is not a particularly helpful guide-post. Some of the physical signs of readiness to look out for include: reasonably predictable bowel movements, they need to be able to independently get themselves to the toilet and pull their pants down, they need to be able to recognise the feeling that they need to go to the toilet or can control the urge to go. Mental signs of readiness means they need to understand what you are saying and are able to follow simple instructions, can predict and communicate when he needs ‘to go’ or becomes uncomfortable and complains if his nappy, in much the same way you describe in your question. Social and emotional signs of readiness include an increase in imitative behaviours, they demonstrate independence (often by saying ‘no’ to requests) or shows a desire to please you and other adults. If your son shows at least two or three of these signs then he should be ready for toilet training – if not I would hold off. Any attempt to try and train him before he is ready will only result in an uphill battle. When he is ready start by encouraging him to sit on the toilet or potty after meals, you can make this a more pleasant experience by giving him a book to look at or place him in front of a favourite DVD. Behavioural reinforcement is typically your best option in encouraging the use of a potty or toilet – however I would recommend rather than using a start chart have him help select what type of reward he would like It would be a good idea to download the toilet training guide off the Huggies website which will provide you with some helpful tips to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Good luck – and please do not hesitate to contact me again if you have further questions. Kind Regards, Dr Cathrine