Parents shouldn't rush potty training

DR. ANNIE ZIMMER

MOMAHA.COM BLOGGER

Learning to use the potty is a big deal for both kids and parents. With a little patience and the understanding that every child and family is different, parents shouldn't worry about rushing their little ones to go like a big kid.

It's important for parents to know there is no definitive age at which a child is ready to start using the potty. While most children begin potty training between 24 and 30 months, starting earlier does not correlate with earlier completion. Success hinges on physical, physiologic, social and behavioral readiness — so don't worry about setting a deadline for your child.

Before potty training starts, help kids comprehend what's to come by showing examples in books and sitting on the toilet. Further prepare by talking about the process in ways that children understand, using the same vocabulary for consistency.

If your child is able to stay dry for three to four hours and can pull his pants up and down, those are signs of physical readiness. Also look for the ability to communicate bathroom needs and follow two-step commands as well as a desire for independence.

Beyond your child's will-ingness and ability to begin potty training, it's important to assess your own readiness. If your family is experiencing any stress or excitement — including moving, welcoming a new baby sibling or traveling — it may be best to postpone until a more stable time. Since it takes time to develop a routine, also consider your availability.

Potty training is a process that involves preparation and troubleshooting. Follow these five tips to increase chances of success.

Get excited and stay excited. A positive attitude will set your child up for success.

Most children master daytime bladder control first. Worry about nap and nighttime training after.

Keep stools soft. Feed children a high-fiber diet and avoid excessive diary.

Remind them of the need to go. After meals or waking up are good times to encourage your child to use the potty.

Take a break. If your child resists or there is no progress, try again in a few weeks or months.

Setbacks are to be expected, but remember to stay positive, be patient and talk it up. Difficult days will happen, but diapers will be a distant memory before you know it.

Dr. Annie Zimmer of Children's Physicians will lead a discussion on how to master potty training tonight at 6. Watch it live and join the chat on momaha.com to get your questions answered.

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