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Potty training can be a trial for any parent--and any child, for that matter. And the fact that there are so many methods can add to the level of difficulty; you may not know how to proceed, which method to choose, or how to prepare. It requires planning, patience, and an understanding attitude. It takes love, repetition, and encouragement. While the number and variety of methods may seem overwhelming, it really just gives you more assurance that at least one of the methods will work for your child.
First, let's start with the basics of body development. It is estimated that a child has the appropriate muscle control for potty training between 12 and 24 months. The average is about 18 months. However, every child is different. Some will be ready to potty train earlier than others. Some children may not show interest in or the capability to potty train until 3 years old or older. It is wholly dependent on the child's physical, emotional, and mental development.
There are many ways that your child will let you know that he or she may be ready to start potty training. Some children can verbalize when they have to go to the bathroom or when they just went. Some will ask to be changed right away or bring you their soiled diapers. Keep an eye out for these behaviors; these are generally signs of readiness and willingness to potty train. When choosing the right time to start potty training your child, make sure nothing else will upset his or her normal routine--a family trip, a new sibling, or guests staying in the home. Make the home environment as calm and predictable as possible.
It's important to show your child how to use the potty--whether you've decided to buy a toddler potty or you are using the house toilet. Repetition is key; this goes for pulling down pants, sitting down, using toilet paper, pulling up pants, flushing, and washing hands. Repetition helps them understand what is expected. And keeping the same order is important, so your child can more easily remember all the steps. While you're potty training, consistently ask your child if he or she has to go to the bathroom. It will help your child recognize the feelings of having to go to the bathroom. Or, you can encourage your child to let you know when he or she has to use the restroom, whichever you think is best or easiest for your child.
Many parents find that rewarding children after a successful bathroom trip is helpful. And it's also important to remember the benefit of rewarding or acknowledging your child with every attempt at making it to the bathroom, even if a potty accident occurs. Remain positive and upbeat. Possible rewards can range from a toy, a piece of candy, or letting them watch their favorite show or movie.
Some children will catch on quicker than others. For some, it only takes a day to learn to use the toilet. For others, it could take months. If it takes a long time, perhaps your child isn't ready to potty train. If this is the case, don't fret. Just give it a few more weeks and try again. Again, each child is unique and at a different developmental level. During the time of learning, expect accidents. That's normal. Your child is still trying to get the hang of recognizing the need to use the bathroom and developing the strength to hold it in until he or she reaches the toilet. Be patient and understanding. If your child does have an accident, don't get angry or punish. This will just set your child back. Be encouraging, helpful, and loving. It's a learning process for everyone.
If your current method of potty training isn't working, talk to your family and friends. Many of them have potty trained their children and can give you helpful advice and tips. If you feel that your child is developmentally behind, you always have the option to go see a doctor. Your doctor can help you understand whether or not your child has some developmental delays or setbacks. And you can start your journey from there.
Potty training may seem like an overwhelming feat, but it doesn't have to be. Take it one step at a time and you'll be well on your way. Remember, during the days, weeks, or months of potty training, be positive, encouraging, and consistent. Your child will be ready to potty train before you know it!
My dream is for “Transracial Adoption” to remove itself from the discussion lists on adoption blogs. Whenever I see those two words together, I cringe like I’ve just heard fingernails on a blackboard. This is because I know that adopting a child from a minority ethnic group is no different than adopting a child from any city, state of country.[more]
My daughter, Elle, has reactive attachment disorder (RAD). She has been in therapy since she was seven and has been seeing an attachment therapist for the last two years. Her therapy is helping and the more time we spend on addressing her RAD behaviors and her relationships, she is getting better. [more]
For some families, an adoption can be a lifelong struggle and process. Some families will need additional support from support groups and professional counselors.
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