Potty training can seem stressful at first, but I have good news: As a parent educator and four-time veteran of the toilet training process, I know that potty training can be simple and, yes, even fun. The first step is to know the facts:
- Most children become physically capable of independent toileting between ages two-and-a-half and four.
- It takes three to 12 months from the start of training to daytime toilet independence.
- Nighttime dryness is achieved only when a child's physiology supports this–you can't rush it.
- The age your child masters toileting has absolutely no correlation to future abilities or intelligence.
- There isn't one right way to potty train–any approach you use can work if you are pleasant, positive and patient.
- A parent's readiness to train is just as important as a child's readiness to learn.
Here are a few tips to help make the process work for you:
- Create a potty routine–have your child sit on the potty when he first wakes up, after meals, before getting in the car and before bed.
- If your child looks like he needs to go–tell, don't ask! Say, "Let's go to the potty."
- Your child must be relaxed to go: try reading a book, telling a story, singing, or talking about the day.
- Make hand washing a fun part of their routine. Keep a step stool by the sink and have colorful, child-friendly soap available.
- Expect accidents and clean them up calmly.
- Matter-of-factly use diapers or pull-ups for naps and bedtime.
- Either cover the car seat or use pull-ups or diapers for car trips.
- Visit new bathrooms frequently when away from home.
- Praise him when he goes!
Elizabeth Pantley a mother of four and the best-selling author of eight parenting books, including: The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The No-Cry Discipline Solution. She is also a contributing author to The Successful Child with Dr. William Sears. Based in Washington, Pantley is the president of Better Beginnings Inc. (a family resource and education company) and a parenting expert for a variety of publications including: Parents, Parenting and Redbook. (www.pantley.com) www.pantley.com/elizabeth