All parents are faced with the questions of “when should I start the potty training process?” The American Academy of Pediatrics says that “there is no set age at which toilet training should begin. Before children are 12 months of age, they have no control over bladder or bowel movements. While many children start to show signs of being ready between 18 and 24 months of age, some children may not be ready until 30 months or older. This is normal.” The academy goes on to point out some signs that parents should look fir such as:
- Your child stays dry at least 2 hours at a time during the day or is dry after naps.
- Bowel movements become regular and predictable.
- You can tell when your child is about to urinate or have a bowel movement.
- Your child can follow simple instructions.
- Your child can walk to and from the bathroom and help undress.
- Your child seems uncomfortable with soiled diapers and wants to be changed.
- Your child asks to use the toilet or potty chair.
- Your child asks to wear “big-kid” underwear.
If any of the above indicators have been seen, the following five toilet training tips are also provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a next step and should prove useful for anyone faced with any concerns that may have come up since their last visit to the pediatrician; but should specific problems surface there is no remedy better than an in-office visit to manage problems that may be more serious than those visited.
- Decide which words to use. Choose the words your family will use to describe body parts, urine, and bowel movements. Remember that other people will hear these words too, so pick words that will not offend, confuse, or embarrass anyone. Avoid negative words like “dirty,” “naughty,” or “stinky.” They can make your child feel ashamed and embarrassed. Talk about bowel movements and urination in a simple, matter-of-fact manner.
- Pick a potty chair. A potty chair is easier for a small child to use because there is no problem getting onto it and a child’s feet can reach the floor. Special books or toys for “potty time” may help make this more enjoyable for your child.
- Know the signs. Before having a bowel movement, your child may grunt or make other straining noises, Click Here, squat, or stop playing for a moment. When pushing, his face may turn red. Explain to your child that these signs mean that a bowel movement is about to come. Your child may wait until after the fact to tell you about a wet diaper or a bowel movement. This is actually a good sign that your child is starting to recognize these body functions. Praise your child for telling you, and suggest that “next time” he let you know in advance. Keep in mind that it often takes longer for a child to recognize the need to urinate than the need to move bowels.
- Make trips to the potty routine. When your child seems ready to urinate or have a bowel movement, go to the potty. It may also be helpful to make trips to the potty a regular part of your child’s daily routine, such as first thing in the morning, after meals, or before naps.
- Try training pants. Once your child starts using the potty with some success, training pants can be used. This moment will be special. Your child will feel proud of this sign of growing up. However, be prepared for “accidents.”