At what age should one begin to potty train and how ?

As a parent you probably freak out about most things your child does and does not do. With the multitude of milestones your little one has to achieve, you probably are focusing more on the milestone achievement checklist rather than enjoying your baby growing up.

Relax!

Take a deep breath!

Your child will get there.

Now, potty training… A huge change for the child and parent likewise. You want it ticked off but you don’t want to push it either.

So when does one begin potty training? Remember potty training has nothing to do with age. It is all about your child being ready to take that step. Here are some cues to let you know that “NOW” may be a good time to begin (this is usually when your child is around 2yrs to 2.5yrs old.)

  1. Your child can walk up to the bathroom on his or her own.
  2. Your child can pull down and pull up his/her own pants.
  3. Your child can sit stably on the potty chair/ seat on his/her own.
  4. Your child can follow simple instructions.
  5. Your child has a reasonably predictable bowel movement time table.
  6. Your child is able to signal/ use cue words for pee-pee and poo-poo.
  7. Your child expresses a curiosity or eagerness to explore the bathroom or other’s bathroom trips.
  8. Your child is not comfortable in the wet diaper and does not like using it to poo.
  9. Your child is at emotionally stable stage where no other major change is happening in his/ her life.
  10. Most importantly, your child is willing to give potty training a shot.

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Well once you have decided to give potty training a shot, here is how going about it may help you:

  1. Begin talking to your child about growing up and using the toilet like other “grown-ups” do.
  2. Begin with a potty chair and encourage your child to sit on it at fixed time intervals. Usually this would coincide with his/her bowel movement time table.
  3. Place the potty chair somewhere where your child spends a lot of time or is comfortable with.
  4. You could use aids such music or books or toys to encourage the child to sit on the potty chair and try.
  5. Keep encouraging your child as he/ she tries.
  6. If your child does not want to use the potty, let go. Do not force the child to sit if he/ she doesn’t want to.
  7. Learn to identify cues, expressions, etc of your child when he/ she wants to use the potty. Do not delay in taking the child to the potty when you know he/ she needs to use it.
  8. Acknowledge disappointments and reassure the child that there is always a next time. Do not rebuke or mock the child for a failed attempt.
  9. Use a tracker and reward your child when he/ she is successful. Smileys or stars, be creative… Any incentive will do wonders. Be careful not to go overboard though with celebrating successes. Disappointments become difficult to handle.
  10. If your child is not keen to use the potty consistently, take a break. Try again after some time.

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A few other points to remember when potty training

  1. Boys tend to take longer than girls to make the transition.
  2. Kids pick up faster what they see then what they hear. A demonstration thus wouldn’t be that bad an idea.
  3. Day time potty training happens faster than night time potty training. We might want to set different targets and expectations for night time training.

Keep reminding yourself that your child will make the transition at his/ her own pace. There is no hurry. Potty training is as much as an emotional transition as it is a physiological one. Ensure your child is emotionally secure when you attempt potty training and keep the love and encouragement flowing. Always!

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