How do you know when a child is ready for toilet training? The age range for potty training readiness varies. Most children are not physiologically ready to be toilet trained until about 18-24 months whereas some may not be ready until 30 months or older. Along with physiological readiness, they must be also show emotional readiness. They should not be fighting the process and showing signs of anxiety and trepidation.
The American Pediatric Association suggests that there are true signs of potty training readiness:
- The child can follow simple instructions
- The child can walk to and from the bathroom and help undress themselves
- The child seems uncomfortable with soiled diapers and asks to be changed
- The child asks to use the toilet or potty
- The child asks to wear big-kid underwear
- The child stays dry at least two hours at a time during the day or is dry after naps
- The child’s bowel movements become regular and predictable
- The child uses facial expressions, posture, or words to show they are about to urinate or have a bowel movement
Once you have determined the child has shown clear signs of potty training readiness, it’s time to get started. Never force or pressure a child to use the potty. Ease them into it. Potty training can be stress free using a few simple strategies:
Reward system: As the child demonstrate steps involved in the potty training process reward him or her. For example, when the child lets you know he or she has to use the potty, sits on the potty on his own, or pulls down his pants alone, give them a small reward. Rewards can range from stickers and honor badges to high fives and praise.
Role Modeling and dramatic play: A doll that wets is an appropriate toilet training model. The child can sees where the “pee” comes from. Then through dramatic play, the child can act out toilet training steps. He or she can remove the doll’s diapers, place the doll on the potty seat, change the doll’s diapers, empty the toy potty into the toilet, and then flush the toilet.
Bring the potty outside: In the backyard, let the child play without diapers and bring a potty chair outside. Let him or her go pee-pee outside so that they can see where it comes from. When the children feels they have control over their own bodies they are more likely to use the potty.
Potty training learning materials: Use books or videos to introduce the child to the potty training process. This opens the lines of communication. Children can ask questions and see demonstrations of training steps. A great book to try is A Potty for Me: A Lift-the-Flap Instruction Manual by Karen Katz.
Also Consider “Potty Power – For Boys & Girls” a potty training DVD that helps kids say goodbye to diapers.
Above all, relax! Eventually, the child WILL use the potty.
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