Around the age of 3, most children are already toilet trained. But many of these toddlers have been trained on a kids' potty and may not be familiar with a regular toilet. It's also around this time that many children start preschool or begin spending time at other kids' houses -- where kiddie potties aren't always present. In preparation for this stage, your child needs to get used to using toilets, both at home and away.
Moving your child from potty to toilet can be almost as difficult as getting him on the potty in the first place, according to Caring for Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Bantam, 1999). While he already has the physical capabilities of using the toilet, some emotional issues may need to be resolved. Start by following these three steps:
1. Position the potty next to the toilet so your child gets used to "going to the bathroom."
2. When he has fully adjusted to the potty seat, get a child-size toilet seat for the toilet, and provide a sturdy box or stool so he can climb up and down by himself. This will also give him a surface to plant his feet while using the toilet.
3. Once he has completely and voluntarily made the transition from potty to toilet, remove the potty.
Little boys generally sit down to urinate during early toilet training, but as preschoolers they'll begin to copy their fathers, friends, or older brothers, and stand up while urinating. As your son learns to do this, make sure he lifts the toilet seat beforehand. Be prepared to do some extra cleaning around the toilet bowl for a while, since he probably won't have perfect aim for some time.
Source: Caring for Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Bantam, 1999)
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