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Baby Q&As

  1. Expert: Elizabeth Pantley
    April 25th, 2011
    Is my toddler ready for toilet training?

    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:

    1. 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.
    2. If your child looks like he needs to go–tell, don't ask! Say, "Let's go to the potty."
    3. Your child must be relaxed to go: try reading a book, telling a story, singing, or talking about the day.
    4. Make hand washing a fun part of their routine. Keep a step stool by the sink and have colorful, child-friendly soap available.
    5. Expect accidents and clean them up calmly.
    6. Matter-of-factly use diapers or pull-ups for naps and bedtime.
    7. Either cover the car seat or use pull-ups or diapers for car trips.
    8. Visit new bathrooms frequently when away from home.
    9. Praise him when he goes!

    Elizabeth Pantley
    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. (