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Potty Training Your Toddler

Summer is on the horizon and this may be the perfect time to begin potty training your toddler. Clothes are lighter and easier to wash which seriously cuts down on the frustrations of parents during this time.
Let your child lead you into the right time for potty training.
Being well prepared for potty training makes this as easy as possible for your toddler. I have only raised one girl and I’ve heard it said that girls are easier and train younger to the potty than boys but some basic guidelines fit all toddlers. As with all aspects of parenting it helps to adapt your mindset to the task at hand to ease the frustration level for both of you. Prepare to do laundry and do your level best to never scold your child for missing the warning signs – no child learns anything well nor shapes a trusting view of the world through shame, fear, or a feeling of incompetence.

Question: Is My Toddler Ready for Potty Training?

You never know until you try. It may be earlier than the parenting books suggest but if the weather is warm let your child run around in the backyard in underwear instead of diapers under his/her clothes to learn the signals and sensations of elimination. You would be surprised to learn how young some children are capable of figuring this out without much ‘training’ from their parents. Your child is more than ready for potty training when he or she tells you right away when the diaper is wet or pulls on it, takes it off herself, or seems uncomfortable with it.

Question: Do I Need A Child Friendly Potty Chair?

A regular toilet can be intimidating for a small child. The toilet is tall, the seat is large and your child will have to hold on to avoid falling into the toilet water. Some children have a fear of falling into the toilet where things magically disappear when flushed – and they may worry that if they fall in, they too will disappear. For the sake of a few dollars you can buy a small potty chair to alleviate all of these concerns and which can easily be moved around with the child throughout the day and night.

Question: What Is A Potty Doll?

A potty doll can be a great training tool but is not a necessity. Potty dolls pee like a child and comes with diapers, underpants and their own potty chair. The doll can help tremendously during the pre-potty training phase when you are getting your child used to the idea of going in the potty instead of the diaper. You can illustrate the chain of events on the doll and let your child warm up to the idea by playing with the doll in the same fashion. When you are ready to potty train, put the doll on his/her own potty chair right next to your toddler’s chair.

Question: Should We Reward During Potty Training?

Some parents advocate rewarding a child for using the potty. Personally I find this ridiculous but if you are at your wit’s end it may be something to consider. My concern here is that if you have to reward a child to recognize their own bodily functions will you also have to reward them for blowing their own noses? Taking a bath? Zipping up their own coat when it’s cold outside? At some point children all have to take personal responsibility for their own health and safety. Your task is to show them how, not train them like a pet to get treats for these functions. Be proud of your child and his accomplishments, help him to feel confident and to take pride in his newly learned achievements and he’ll grow to be a capable, responsible adult who doesn’t need self-gratifying rewards or treats for every part of life’s journey.

My final advice is to not let the books tell you when the best age for potty training your child might be. Every child is different and capable of tasks on their own schedules. No normal or healthy child is born lazy, or dirty, or resilient to change. If you must label your toddler or put him/her on a schedule be sure to take her maturity and personality into account above any book or parenting expert. Learn all you can, consider all advice, but let your child lead in these new frontiers of growing up.

This article on potty training a toddler was originally written on May 5, 2011 @ 13:52 but has been moved for better accessibility.

About Laura Childs

Country Living enthusiast Laura Childs was a downtown city girl for many years before heading to the hills to live a sustainable lifestyle, raise her daughter, get back to the land, and learn the time tested traditions of a simpler era. Throughout her farm life adventures of raising animals, working from home, home schooling her daughter, and being more green, Laura Childs has been sharing on the GoodByeCityLife website through articles and personal musings since 1998.