One thing that we know for sure is this. “potty training” cannot be accomplished until the toddler is physiologically and developmentally ready. This readiness occurs between the ages of 2 years and 3 years. It is during this time that the child can consistently identify the signals from his full bladder and then have enough control to get to the potty.
When and how to proceed with “potty training”
Your child’s and your readiness:
Child’s Readiness Signs:
The signs that a child has reached this developmental readiness stage are:
- Long periods of dryness
- Asking to be changed when his diaper is soiled
- Expresses pride in accomplishments
Chances are if you observe these signs it may be time for successful “potty training”.
It is important to look at what else is going on in your toddler’s life as well. If he is going through other transitions such as giving up a bottle, starting school or experiencing any other change in his routine it may not be a good time to begin “potty training” You will increase your chances and his chances of success if you are sensitive to these other transitions.
If you or your child’s primary caregiver is going through a difficult transition and cannot deal calmly with “potty training” then it would be better to wait a couple of weeks or so.
Create the right atmosphere.
Atmosphere is important. The first thing you will need is a “child size” potty. http://www.babiesrus.comThere are many available. You might even want to take your child along when you buy it. At the same time pick up a picture book or DVD, which will help to peak his interest in potty training. http://www.amazon.com
You might also want to buy an adapter seat. Make sure your choice is secure and comfortable. Children can be afraid of falling into the toilet and be sucked into the bowl. The flushing noise can also scare them. You may also need a stool to go with the adapter seat.
CAUTION: This type of seat involves some climbing and your toddler will always need assistance so that he does not fall and hurt himself. An injury in the bathroom can be serious so take precautions to keep your child safe.
For safety reasons, my preference is the child size potty. Make sure you read all precautions and warnings that come with potty equipment.
Children learn by imitation. Have your child try sitting on his “potty”. Encourage him/her to watch you use the bathroom. Remember, it is easier for a boy to learn to us the potty while sitting down.
While you are assessing your child’s readiness and creating the atmosphere consider what approach you want to take to the actual potty training process.
- Toilet training in less than a day and similar methods; see reference below.
- Going along with your child’s cues and progress slowly, allowing him control the process in his own way.
- Taking it slow. The steps of training may take a long time. Some children may accomplish it in a few days others may need several weeks or even months. Let your child take his/her time to move from one step to the next.
- Praise your child, compliment him/her on having dry pants, getting to the potty and any successes that he has during the process.
- Very important: accept accidents as part of the process. Do not punish or get angry with your toddler. Calmly clean up an accident and suggest that he remember to use the potty the next time.
Suggested toddler books:
“Everyone Poops” by Taro Gomi
“Once Upon a Potty”by Alona Frankel
“Uh Oh! Gotta Go!” by Bob McGrath from “Sesame Street”