Thursday, July 23, 2009

Potty Training Tips for your Toddler

I've never heard a parent say potty training was fun, but there are creative ways to find success when potty training your toddler. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no set age at which toilet training should begin. They advise that the right time depends on a child's physical and psychological development. Between 18 and 24 months, children often start to show signs of being ready, but some children may not be ready until 30months or older. They also advise parents that if their child resists strongly, it is best to wait for a while.

Though the children are supposed to be toilet trained by the time they get into our three year old program, sometimes they aren’t ready yet. In my experience, girls tend to train sooner than boys. Some kids are strong willed and though you know your child could be trained if he wanted to, sometimes you just have to wait until he decides he's ready.

I taught one student whose mother came up with a creative way to entice her daughter to use the potty. At just over two years old, Isabelle’s mother was determined to potty train her daughter. She brought a special potty seat and two packages of Tic Tacs into school, and asked us to place her daughter on her potty seat at exactly 9:40 and 11:15 every day. We needed to instruct Isabelle to sing the ABC song while she was sitting on the potty, and as soon as the song ended, she needed to get up. If she was successful and peed or pooped into the potty, we were to give her one white Tic Tac and one green one.

Though we tried to follow through on Isabelle’s mother’s wishes, that was very difficult to do. With a dozen children and many activities, it was impossible to let those specific times dictate our routine. We did remind Isabelle to try to use the potty a couple of times each day, though the timing varied.

This process actually did work for Isabelle, though her mother was a slave to the process for several weeks. For her, that was just fine, because she got her desired results. It’s important to remember that every child is different, and while that particular process of training worked for Isabelle, it may not work for your child. In creating your own personal plan, you must consider your routine, and how much time you will be able to devote to the process.

According to Dr. Blum, a pediatrician and toilet training specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, “If a child is at home most of the time and has easy and rapid access to a bathroom, than being toilet trained is one thing. If you expect that your kid is going to go to the mall with you, ride 45 minutes in the car, and in those situations, not have easy access to a toilet, that’s a whole other level of difficulty. When you think about toilet training your child you must also consider what you are going to expect of him or her in terms of how long you are going to expect them to be in a place where they don’t have access to a toilet.”

So hang in there....I promise it will happen eventually!

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