Tis the Season for Potty Training!
If you are the parent of a Toddler the good news is the days of diapers will soon be over. The bad news is, it won't happen overnight.
There is a huge difference between Toilet Learning and Toilet Training. The ultimate goal of toilet use is that little ones become independent. Training a child usually results in the child training the adult to watch for signs that indicate we better get to the bathroom NOW. Of course, toilet learning does not happen overnight but works for the purpose of children becoming independent in their toilet use. It empowers the child to be involved in the process.
What Can You Expect From Your Child Developmentally?
Around 12 months children commonly become interested in the bathroom. Playing in the water, exploring, and watching parents or siblings is common.
Around 15 months children become interested in wearing underwear and is dressing and/or undressing themselves.
Between 13 - 15 months children may become interested in sitting on the toilet.
Around 18 months children enter a sensitive period in which they can most easily gain control of their much more developed nervous system. Most children have both the physical ability and the interest to control their bladder and bowel. This is an ideal time (if the child has shown previous appropriate signs) to put the child in underwear. It can be helpful to introduce toileting before the "Terrible Two's" set in.
How do I know if my child is ready?
Physical signs of readiness include:
- Can stay dry for longer periods of time (2+ hours or overnight)
- Knows the feelings that signal they need to use the bathroom
- Can pull pants up and down independently
- Can get themselves to the toilet independently (walking)
- Can get on and off the toilet independently
- Recognizes when they are having a bowel movement
- Briefly postpones urges when awake
- Can follow simple directions
- Can point to wet or soiled clothes and asks to be changed
- Pays attention to physical signals when they are otherwise engaged (this is a challenge for most children and the common result of accidents)
- Knows the words for using the toilet and can tell as adult
- Has asked to wear underwear
- Understands the purposes of the toilet
- Prefers clean diapers and likes to be changed immediately
- Understands key words such as potty, dry, wet and clean
- Understands the connection between using the toilet and having dry pants
- Able to communicate either with words or with gestures
- Seeks privacy when going in diaper
- Shows interest in using the toilet - may want to put paper in and flush (even if they haven't been able to "go")
- Shows curiosity at other people's toilet habits
- Has decided he/she wants to use the toilet
- Not afraid of the toilet
- Wants to wear underpants and use the toilet
- BE PATIENT!
- BE CALM!
- FOLLOW THE CHILD!
- ALLOW THE PROCESS!