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Potty Email Series Issue1234

​Potty Training - ​Is​ Your Child ​​Ready?

Are you eager to get your ​​little one ​potty ​​​​trained?

Thinking about how much easier (and economical!) life will be with no more diaper duty can turn even the most laid-back parent into an obsessive, aggressive potty-training drill sergeant. And that stinks.

Potty training should be a positive, rewarding experience for you and your toddler, so don't let unrealistic expectations (starting too soon/pushing too fast/insisting on immediate success) clog up the process.

You can help ensure everything flows smoothly by first taking a moment to determine if your child is even ready for potty training. To measure your child's "readiness," look at these behavioral skills and developmental markers:

  • Age
    In our experience, most children become successfully potty trained between the ages of 2 and 3. There are some children who are able to learn earlier due to their physical and cognitive maturity but, in general, most aren't ready until they've blown out at least two candles on their birthday cake. Other indicators include having good motor skills, being able to walk from room to room, being able to pull pants up and down, and getting to the bathroom independently. Also, girls tend to be successfully trained earlier than boys, and older children tend to be trained faster.
  • Bladder Control
    Your child should already be staying dry for several hours at a time, urinating about four to six times a day, and completely emptying her bladder. If she is still wetting a small amount frequently (seven to ten times a day), it may be best to wait.
  • Language skills
    It's important for your child to understand what you say. He should know what you mean when you use words like "wet," "dry," "pants" and "bathroom." Also, he should be able to express his wants and needs to you.
  • Instructional readiness:
    Your child should be able to understand and follow simple instructions, such as "Come here, please" and "Sit down." Just as important, she should be cooperative when following these requests. If she resists or throws frequent temper tantrums, you may want to hold off.
  • Bladder and bowel awareness:
    Your child may indicate that he's aware of his need to potty. This awareness can often be communicated through actions rather than words - making a face, assuming a special posture like squatting, or going to a certain location in the house when feeling the urge to go. Such self-awareness can be a positive signal your child is ready for training.

Teaching Activity

Toddler See, Toddler Do

Another good way to gauge your child's readiness is to monitor her reaction when you model the behavior. Take your child to the bathroom when you go. As you model how to go "number one" and "number two," watch to see if your child pays attention. Does she ask questions that show a basic understanding of what's going on? Can he answer basic questions about going potty? By modeling the behavior, you can see how engaged and prepared your child is to learn. In addition, it's also helpful if dads model for sons and moms model for daughters when possible.

A word of caution - this one's not for the squeamish. We 're talking about going to the bathroom here, after all. One of the best things you can do to get your child to learn a new skill is to model the behavior. In this case, we're talking about going to the bathroom and letting your child observe you when you go. Do your best to banish any thoughts of modesty, and let your child see how simple and mundane going to the bathroom really is. Dropping your pants. Doing your business. Proper wiping technique. Washing up afterwards. These are all things you take for granted, but your little one needs to know. Throughout the animal kingdom, offspring learn by observation; proper bathroom technique in humans is no different.

Social Skills

Following Instructions

Your child needs to know how to follow instructions. Potty training involves multiple steps, including getting to the bathroom, removing clothes, wiping, flushing and washing.

To learn and do all those steps successfully requires following instructions. It's also a must-have skill when the occasional accident happens. You'll need your little one to listen and learn so the accident can be cleaned up quickly and future mishaps can be avoided.

Following instructions is a simple four-step process that will be useful throughout your child's development - not just when potty training.

Here are the steps to the skill of Following Instructions:

  • Look at the person - Tell your child that looking at the person makes listening easier.
  • Say, "Okay" - Explain how saying okay or nodding yes means you understand what the person said.
  • Do what you've been asked right away - Doing the task immediately makes remembering what to do easier.
  • Check back - When the task is done, let the person know you did what was asked.

Coming up in Issue 2

Preparing Your Child for ​Potty Training


Positive Pep Talks with Some ​Practice


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