Have a conversation about what does—and doesn’t—go in the toilet. And try to get her in the habit of flushing every time she goes. If you’ve got a fearful flusher, have her close the lid first to make it less noisy.
Teach your kids to count out four squares of toilet paper—or enough to wrap around their hand twice—to avoid clogging catastrophes. Explain when and how to wipe: for example, to keep going until there’s no more brown.
Some parents give their kids’ hands a quick sniff after they come out of the bathroom to make sure they’ve soaped up. Adding music to the mix—by having your kid sing “Happy Birthday” or the alphabet song—will help ensure they spend enough time scrubbing the germs off. Have them pick out fun soaps (one that foams or features a favourite character) and hand towels to make cleanup more enjoyable. A kid-friendly stepstool is also helpful.
It may take your boy some time to consistently hit his target. When you think he’s ready, teach your kid how to mop up messes using designated towels placed at an easy-to-reach height.
The most important thing? Have a sense of humour, even when it takes a while for your child to master the bathroom routine. Patience and kindness will get you to your goal: total independence in the bathroom.
A version of this article appeared in our Summer 2016 issue, titled “Pees and thank you”, pg. 65.