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Potty Training – A Simple 4 Step Formula for Initiating Toilet Training
“I’m done with diapers!” moans a mother as she looks at the high price of the pack of nappies. “Is it time for my child to start potty training?”
Potty training is a big milestone for children. But how do parents know when to start? Intuition, expectations, common sense and observation all play a key role when starting potty training.
Step 1: Create a parent/child team
Potty training is a combined effort between parent and child. Some parents may assume they are in charge, while other parents put the child in charge. Potty training is actually a partnership. Parents provide support, potty training tools, books and dry clothes; the children do the “go”.
Grasping the concept that potty training is a team effort between parent and child, and not a command and control situation, is critical to success. The strict and impatient pursuit of the goal takes the pressure off the child, causing stress, anxiety and, in some cases, delayed potty training.
Step no. 2: Starting early does not guarantee quick results
In-depth research on intensive potty training has shown that starting the process early actually correlates with an extended duration of potty training. Those parents who start training prematurely find that the potty training process takes longer.
Children need to develop bladder and muscle control before they can control the toilet. Parents can stick to this rough timeline of readiness: Between 15 and 18 months, the child feels that his clothes are wet; 18 months the child can urinate in the potty if placed on it; 2- 2 1/2 years old the child could tell the parents that he has to go; and from 3 to 4 years the child can have the ability to “hold it” and visit the bathroom alone.
Step #3-Determine the child’s developmental readiness
When deciding to begin the potty training process, chronological age may not be the correct indicator of readiness. Parents should look for signs that the child is developmentally ready. This is especially true for babies who were born prematurely and children with developmental delays.
Some good signs of readiness are: the child can sit and walk well, the child can stay dry for 2 hours or more, the child is interested in doing what older or older children do, the child is able to follow and carry out instructions simple and the child seems to understand what the potty is for and uses words related to using the toilet.
Parents should assess the child’s temperament. Important questions to ask are: is the child able to concentrate, what is their attention span, does the child get frustrated easily, does the child get angry or discouraged easily.
For most children, potty training takes place between the ages of 2 and 3, with most children potty trained by age 4.
Step no. 4: forward now, forward!
Today is the day! Parents need to make sure the child is in good health and the home is calm with no impending problems such as a move, a new baby being brought home or a parent going on a trip .
Dress the child in clothes that are easy to remove, such as sweat pants with an elastic waistband. Buttons, buttons and zippers are difficult for little hands and take a lot of time to manipulate when the need arises. To reduce the pressure on the child, allow him to stay in diapers for the first few days of potty training. Gradually transition it to your underwear for short periods of time as your dry times get longer and longer.
After a meal, a nap or when he comes in from outside are good times to encourage the child to go to the potty. Parents should be on the lookout for indicators of when the child may want to go.
Accompany the child to the potty and stay with him. The visit to the bathroom should be short and sweet; five minutes is plenty of time. Offer reading material or use a toy or potty training tool to make the five minutes engaging. Important: If the child wants to get off the potty before five minutes, do not force him to stay.
Praise, praise, praise! Small milestones deserve lots of hugs and kisses. It’s really something for a little guy to go to the potty by himself, drop his pants, or go to the bathroom (even if it’s just to be a little late). Be kind, patient, sensitive and proud. Never scold the child for having accidents.
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