Potty Training Toddlers

Potty training toddlers...it can strike fear into the hearts of any mom. This article will hopefully dispel some myths, give you hints and tips to have a stress free potty training period with your little ones when they are ready.

Potty Training Toddlers Myths

If you have heard any of the following you can be sure that a generalization is being made:

~Toddlers are ready to be potty trained around 18 months of age
~Boys are easier to potty train than girls
~Girls are easier to potty train that boys
~You should not use a potty, but rather use the toilet straight away
~You should make your toddler to sit on the potty for practice

These are comments that are shared because for that mother that particular thing has worked. The truth of the matter is that there are no hard and fast rules about when or how potty training toddlers works best.

There are two important points however that cannot be contested - it is imperative that a no pressure environment is created around potty training and that no emotional bribing (either positive or negative) should be inflicted on the toddler.

This having being said, each child is on an individual timer when it comes to potty training and while it is very unusual for bladder and bowel control to show up any earlier than 15 months, for most children potty training is achieved quicker and more effectively towards the end of the 2nd year. For your child to be able to stay dry throughout the night you can expect that anywhere from 3-4 years of age and for some they will still have multiple accidents up to the age of 5.

Bowel movements in babies and toddlers can be anticipated to some degree due to the natural stimulating of the gastro intestinal system when food is ingested. This however does not indicate that a child is ready for potty training, it is simply the bodies response to food in the system.

Whether you choose to help your toddler onto the normal toilet with a special seat adjustment or let them use a toddler, is in many cases personal preference on behalf of the mother. The most important thing about this choice, however, is accessibility. If you are not always available to drop what you are doing and get your little one to the toilet on time, then you may find that there are more accidents than there would normally be. A potty is at their level and they can get themselves to it without much help from you.

One of the more destructive choices I have heard of is where parents try to "train" their child's bowel and bladder movement to a schedule. I can only think of this as being a selfish choice on the part of a parent where they would like to control something that is actually a physiological process and in the toddler years quite unpredictable.

You and your toddler

Perhaps you are asking "How will I know that my child is ready to start potty training?"

Despite all that has been said earlier, there are some hints and cues that your toddler may give you indicating that they are ready to go without a nappy/diaper during the day.

The first notable sign is normally that your toddler will indicate with words or actions that they have gone in their nappy. Others may insist that you take their nappy off immediately after wetting or soiling their diaper. This just indicates that they are recognizing that something has happened and does not indicate control.

The next step in potty training toddlers is when they ask you to take off their nappy during the day as they would prefer to go without it while at home. I say at home, because at this very early stage it can be quite stressful for a mom who is out with a potty training toddler and they suddenly need to go...rushing around to find a toilet is no fun when you are almost finished your grocery shop or you are in an unknown place.

Summer time is a perfect time to let your toddler run around without a nappy in the safety of their own enclosed yard. I do not recommend that you allow this in public places. Being at home you are also able to talk to your toddler when they may happen to go outside and encourage them to come to you and tell you they need to go. We used to take a potty outdoors too for our young diaper-less ones to use while running in sprinklers or splashing in a paddling pool.

When your toddler is either communicating with you before they need to go to the toilet, or is getting themselves to a potty on their own with a good success rate then you can think about going out without a diaper on. However be sure to ask your little one to go before you leave and also check in with them while you are out and about to give them opportunities to relieve themselves in a suitable toilet.

What about nights? In our home we were in no rush to potty train or to have our children diaper-less at night, we also did wake our children to go to the toilet before we went to sleep ourselves. We just watched their morning nappies until we found they were dry and then placed the required protective sheeting on the mattress and took each night as it came. Eventually (Around 4/5) our children would wake up dry and would remove their own diaper and take themselves off to the toilet immediately.

Character building

Accidents will happen when potty training toddlers and there is only one thing you should do about it - encourage your child and clean up the mess.

It is pointless getting angry about a puddle on the floor and wet clothes, and no need to get embarrassed if their accident is a little smelly! All you will do is upset your child and yourself.

Potty training takes time as does learning full bowel control. Don't over think this topic and don't over react to mistakes.

Potty Training Charts

Some children are motivated to use the potty for rewards. We did not do a star chart for our children for this physiological development, however, if your children enjoy working towards this in other sectors of their development; by all means make an award chart for them.

Download some generic charts here.

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