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Toilet Training

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Toilet Training
By Sraboni Dutta on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 1:34 pm:


My son is 3 years and 8-9 months old and he is not toilet trained, which is causing a lot of anxiety in me. I will always have to give him a reminder , that he needs to go to the toilet. If I don't he will go on his own but he will go at the last moment and by that time his pant will be wet. I have done a lot of scoldings, a lot of punishments and lot of briberies too. But, nothing seems to work. When he is in school, he does not bother to go at all. The school was having a lot of problem and eventually, they asked me to switch to disposable training pant, which I have done. Can anybody give me some idea? Is there any English speaking Child Psychologist , whom I can consult? Please do let me know your opinions. I badly need it.


By Dennis Mobley on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 2:02 pm:

The main advice I would give is to stop the scoldings. When my son was going through the process, I lost my composure a few times, but just as the books advise, I found that scolding only caused more anxiety & problems. We made a game of putting a snack (chocolate Pritz) somewhere in the house where he could see them. If he told us he had to go, he could have one. If he "missed" we would say "No snack this time" . He soon got the picture. This took about a month. At first he had a 10% success ratio, but after about a week it went up dramatically. (Don't forget to take the snack with you when you go somewhere).

However you do it, I am convinced it is much more difficult on the parent than on the child! I think we all have those moments when we think he/she understands, then in the middle of Takashimaya, you need to break out the towels!

I'm not a doctor, but I hope this is helpful.

By Emily Homma on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 2:22 pm:

My son is 3 and 7 months old and now has been using the toilet everytime. We had the same experience as yours, did everything...until we thought of analyzing my son's behavior much deeper-including his 'fear' of the toilet, what could change his feelings towards it, who could help influence him use it regularly, etc. Would you believe that after weeks of showing him different toilet designs at Dept. stores, cute kiddie toilets at the hoykuen, peer pressure (his girlfriend criticized him still using nappies), making our toilet look nice and attractive(well lit too)that he is now 'a toilet fan? He loves to see various designs of toilets that it's easy to locate him everytime we go shopping at malls! 'Hope this helps.

By Marta on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 5:30 pm:

Read the Toilet training discussions at this link ... until you fall asleep!

Basically, some kids take a bit longer, and rather than stress yourself out about it, just let him wear diapers until he's ready to pay some attention to his body functions/signals. At my daughter's Japanese daycare there were at least 6 kids in a class of 20 still wearing "pull-ups" after their fourth birthday. The hobo-sans were totally cool about it as far as I could tell. My daughter still has accidents at night sometimes (about once every 4 months now), and she is six! I figure it's just part of the long journey. No point in "yelling" (unless it makes you feel better, in which case yell out the window and not at the kid). Otherwise a waste of energy.

And I wouldn't bother with a psychologist, a little more time and patience is what's needed.

By Quenby Hoffman Aoki on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 9:58 pm:

My son just turned three in January and is not even vaguely interested in using the toilet. I have made a decision not to worry about it at all. Several of my friends say their kids are toilet trained but what I observe is that these kids wet their pants ALL the time! So the mother has to carry three changes of clothes instead of diapers....doesn't seem like much of an improvement to me. Plus, they are always having to nag at the kid, "Do you have to go to the toilet? Do you have to go to the toilet?" Furthermore, he couldn't turn on the light or wipe himself even if he were able to go in the toilet, so really, I don't see that it would make my life easier. Maybe I am selfish and lazy , but my priority right now is to reduce the stress in my life, not add to it. I'm just not willing to make a lot of effort, when I don't think it would "train" him any faster.

Finally it is not my business to tell another parent what to do with her child, but in my opinion "punishment" never solves the problem, and in this case could make it worse.

By Janine Boyd on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 12:50 am:

boys always take longer than girls. Dont compare to other kids.

Very sound advice Marta

Childcare centers seem to push training way to early here
in Japan.

It is rather pointless beginning training until the child at least recognises the sensaton of feeling wet. Too hasty tends to turn a natural learning experience into a stressful period and then youll be looking for answers to the nail biting, lip chewing, speech stammering or other nervous habit that develops as a result of over zealous toilet training.

Dont start until your child at least vocalises the awareness that the wee is coming or has just come. Then its time to start with short spells on the potty or toilet with a secure hand to ensure the little one doesnt feel like you are trying to perch them on a high scarey ledge over water that grows when you push the button. think about it from their point of view. its a rather daunting experience if rushed too quickly!. Good luck.

By Ted Myers on Sunday, May 4, 2003 - 9:39 am:

I work at a Kindergarten in Japan where all new students are officially required to be out of diapers, but in truth this is often asking too much of the three-year-olds.

I've seen about 60 kids from age 3 to age 6 on a daily basis. Many of the three-year-olds, a few of the four-year-olds, but almost none of the five-year-olds still wet themselves occasionally. This was also true at a place in the US where we ended up setting a 3.5 y.o. minimum for preschool classes because of the toiet training issue.

Creating a secure feeling about using the toilet has been the biggest help, but some firmness was required. For example, if a student avoids going to the bathroom alone, or cleaning themselves alone, we encourage them to try to do it themselves, gradually offer less and less help, and praise them profusely when they have reached a new milestone.

Last week I had a four-year-old, who was a little late at TT, fling open the bathroom door and yell, "Jibun-de dekita!" (I did it myself!).

For moms of 3-year-olds: have patience, you're almost there.

By laura dinning on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 1:25 am:

Both of my daughters were toilet trained between the ages of 2 and 2and six months. Having occasional 'accidents' for quite a while after this is a perfectly normal part of the process and not (necessarily) an indication that they're not ready yet. Patience and perseverance are the keys to success, as is catching the child at the right stage of development - start too early or too late and you could well have a problem on your hands, particularly with an older child in whom the habit of using a nappy may have become too firmly established to be easily erased.Furthermore, the pressure to have them toilet trained becomes greater the older they get - at least if you start before they get to three you have a fighting chance - and plenty of time - to get it sorted before it becomes a problem in terms of entry to school or kindergarten.
There was an excellent US tv programme dealing with this subject (DR PHIL, who also has a website under the same name where I'm sure you could access the details). He used a method which involved the use of a drink and wet baby doll which proved to be extremely quick and successful (and fun, too).
Good luck , they all learn eventually!

By Carmen on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 3:49 am:

Here is the link to Dr. Phil's site:
Potty Train Your Child In One Day
I followed Dr. Phil's method and successfully potty trained my son in one day!

By Amy Uehara on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 8:27 am:

This takes me down memory lane.
I didn't actively potty train my son. I saw mothers "put" there kids on the toilet regularly. What did occur was his father's involvement and openness and it wasn't a cognitive process. He went to daycare and maybe they "trained" him after lunch etc. But, at 2 1/2, he could even stand and urinate. The teachers were very surprised.
My daughter on the other hand, had no intention of using the toilet regularly. She could but she was a determined child. She literally told me that she would stop using diapers at 3. And true to her word, she did. It was later than others and she carried her own diapers home from the store. Neighbors asked, "Who are those for?" She said, "They're mine."
It seemed that they were learning to listen to their own bodies. The book "EVERYONE POOPS" by Taro GOMI was a fun book to read.
(Now, cats. That's a different issue!)

By Janine Boyd on Sunday, August 10, 2003 - 5:53 pm:

A handy tip
I hang a small whiteboard in the toilet which has 4 stickers on it.

At nappy(diaper) changing time for my 2.5 yr old boy, if I notice that the nappy is still dry after 2-3 hrs since the last wet one, we go for a trip to the toilet "to see if any wee wants to come out". If he cant do a wee there's no fuss ,I thank him for trying and I let him flush the toilet and wash his hands....which he thinks is fun too.
If coincidently he does do a wee, he is allowed to circle a sticker of his choice on the whiteboard for Daddy and the rest of the family to see. Everyone in the family makes a big fuss of praising him for doing such a nice circle when they notice it. (He is NOT allowed to write on the board just for fun. This keeps the board special)
Best of luck

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