Transitioning from nappies to toileting

Transitioning from nappies to toileting

One of the early transition steps you can take towards toileting is to ditch the change table. Do nappy changes in the toileting area. I recommend doing standing nappy changes from the time your child can stand while holding onto something. As soon as little ones reach this stage of development, they detest laying down on their backs forcibly (e.g. doing floating at swimming lessons or doing nappy changes etc.). Work with their development and do changes standing while holding onto the wall, a bench etc. They are less likely to fight you and have tantrums, and you are preparing them for toileting.

Moving from disposable nappies to cloth nappies or no nappies is great indirect preparation for toileting. Disposable nappies today are so efficient at wicking away moisture that most children don’t even know what being wet feels like. By giving them exposure to this ‘wet’ feeling, you are helping them to make the association of ‘wet’ and the feeling of ‘I need to do a wee’ that comes before that.

When you see your child look as if they are about to do a poo, take them to the toilet to do it. If they don’t want to sit on the toilet to do it, that is ok. You are still practising moving to the toilet area to do the motion (even if it’s still in the nappy).

Describe the facets of toileting, i.e. narrate what you are doing when you are changing nappies etc. This helps not only with language development, but you are creating associations that you will use when toileting, e.g. “You are wet, you did a wee. Wipe now. All dry. Let’s put on a clean nappy. Finished now” etc. Never use negative language towards anything to do with toileting or body motions – this can be a very hard association to unlearn, and can cause shame and trauma in the child. Never refer to poos as disgusting, gross etc. – and instantly correct anyone else who does use this language. Normalise these motions – they are part of life!

Get into the habit of doing ‘tactical wees’ – announce that you are going to go to the toilet just before you are about to leave the house ‘just in case’ for a tactical wee. Invite your child to come with you. You are starting the habit that you always go to the toilet before you leave the house.

Invite your child to sit on their potty while you go to the adult toilet.

Buy rubber-backed fabric (e.g. from spotlight) that you can cut into squares to line your car seat (with spares) for any accidents in the car. I put rubber-backed fabric on the car seat then a cloth towel on top of that (e.g. a hand towel or the old cloth nappies that you have to fold), then the child sits on top of that. Washing car seat covers each time is an absolute nightmare – do not recommend!

Use rubber-backed fabric as a mattress protector for the child’s cot or bed. You can use puppy training mats or disposable toilet learning sheets but these add up in cost long term in my opinion – do what works for your family.

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