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Potty Training 101

Tips for Helping Children of Different Ages and Stages


Girl using toilet
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Potty training never goes exactly the way you think it will. Even if your child seems highly eager and ready when you start, there are bound to be bumps in the road. Getting a variety of advice can help you manage the unique circumstances you'll encounter with your own child.

First, it's important to identify signs of potty readiness, including:

  • Showing an interest in using the potty
  • Staying drier longer
Once you feel your child is ready, you'll need to take into consideration his individual personality and needs to determine how to teach him to use the potty.

The I-Am- Ready-for-This Kid

Assuming your child is ready and willing, you can begin training by getting the right gear and, if she needs it, creating a reward system that will encourage her to use the potty.

The Resistant Child

You should be prepared for setbacks and resistance, however. There can be numerous reasons that potty training doesn't come easy, and for every child, that reason may be different. Spend some time talking to your child to determine what his obstacles may be. You may also need to manage resistance in specific situations such as refusing to use the potty at day care.

Sharing the Potty Training Duties

A common barrier may be the fact that you are potty training with a caregiver. In those instances, you and the caregiver need to be on the same page. Talk about the language you use with your child and how you motivate him. It can be hard to be consistent, but to have a successful potty training experience it is essential.

Training More Than One Deciding when you should start potty training twins or triplets may be difficult, especially if the toddlers aren't all ready at the same time. One of the most important things to keep in mind might be: don't set a schedule. You'll need to be able to adapt to the situation and prepare for the unexpected.

Children With Special Needs

You may need to take a different approach to potty training children with physical disabilities, learning delays, sensory issues, or other special needs. Consider your child's medical condition before starting your potty training.

Most importantly, try not to let pressure from others or a deadline such as the start of preschool get you stressed. That pressure will be evident to your child, and might create a reluctance to use the toilet at all.

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