Many parents ask when the right age is to start potty training their little one. There is no magical time. Your child is not likely to wake up one day and say, “Mommy, I need to learn to go potty today.” Dr. Michael Dickinson, a pediatrician in Miramichi, N.B. says that potty training is driven by the toddler. Apparently, there is no perfect age but it will happen between 2 and 4-years-old. Parents should look for certain cues such as the child having the ability to say if they are wet or dirty and if they skulk away to a dark corner to poop.
It is advantageous if the toddler has an older sibling to look up to that uses the potty. Alternatively, an older friend who uses the potty could come over and demonstrate how to use it. Looking up to an older sibling or friend helps them understand that this is a normal process that everyone goes through. It helps when the toddler is not afraid of the toilet. If they are, desensitization would be prudent; rewards and discussion about what it is and what it does will help.
A lot of children are actually fascinated by toilets. They want to know where the water goes and wonder what happens after they flush it. Take advantage of this and make toilet training a fun thing to do; a time for treats when they do as they are supposed to.
There are a few things parents can do to make toilet training easier. Make the home ready for the process of potty training, removing rugs and other furniture that could get ruined. Purchase several pairs of underwear, fun ones that they love to wear. Buy more than one potty and distribute them through the house for quick access. Find out what they will work for. Will they go in the potty for a reward of candy, a toy or time with daddy? Be open about the process, encourage them to talk about number two and explain that it is a natural thing. Encourage them to go number two by offering a reward and explaining that poop is not scary; that they are not losing part of their body when going number two.
Take the child to the potty many times a day, for example, every 20 minutes. Clarify that accidents happen and don’t be too upset when they do; just move on. Teach them about washing their hands and keeping clean in the washroom. To keep things light, sing a song such as Kimya Dawson’s Pee pee in the Potty. Finally, attitude is very important. Don’t hover about; controlling parent temper and anxiety is very important.
Mind-set is everything in life. If potty training is a horrible thing that no one wants to do, children will feel that. Making potty training a fun thing is the best way to ensure success. It can be a great time to get closer, have meaningful discussions and learn new things.
Also, be sure to take advice from other moms. There are many Facebook mommy groups that offer a wealth of information on potty training and other real-life advice. Baby Center, an excellent resource for everything child related, offers a great potty training guide for girls and boys, details pressure and bribing. Don’t forget, blog articles, newspaper articles and books provide many excellent tidbits of information. Good luck and remember, “This too shall pass.”
By: Nicole Drawc