Time for potty training
Potty training. Those words can strike fear in many first-time parents. When should we start? How do we start? Is our child ready? Should we use rewards? Should we start with pull-ups or go straight to underwear? Those are just a few questions that will run through every parent's head.
Even as a veteran parent, I think it can be a bit confusing. I admit I am not the best about bottle breaking (that is my parenting weakness), but I'm a pro at potty training . . . or so I thought.
Every one of my children was potty trained right after their second birthday. I was armed with a carpet cleaner and every room had a potty chair. I was good to go. Sure, the first day or two was messy, but after that they would catch on. Within a week they would have it down pat and short of an accident here and there, they were potty trained.
Then came my last child. A beautiful little girl who challenged every notion I had ever had about potty training.
She was stubborn, completely capable, but unwilling to work with me. I remember when she was about 2 years old. I decided we were going to give it a go, and a go she gave it. Within an hour she had managed to pee on a puppy! She knew what she was doing; you could see it in her eyes and hear it in her laugh. After cleaning the pup up and explaining that we do not pee on our pets, I got her to use the potty. Great! I thought. Until she decided to tip a kitchen plunger I had upside down and pee in it. The final straw was when she tried to pee in a cup.
She was ready. She just wasnít willing to play the game.
I tried off and on for the next two months, and since she still would not give in I decided to just wait a little longer. Then at 2.5 years old she sat down and has not looked back. I canít really say what changed, but I am very thankful to finally be done with diapers.
So what can parents look for to help them make the transition a little easier?
While the average age for potty training is around 2 years old, some kids can take much longer. Itís not uncommon for some kids to not be ready till they reach the age of 4.
From a mental standpoint, a child's brain needs to be able to receive the message that the bladder is full. Typically this happens between 18-22 months of age, but again, every child is different. Physically, a child needs to be able to dress and undress themselves. They should be able to reach the seat with a stool, though a little help from mom and dad is okay. They also have to be able to recognize the need to go. Developmentally, they need to want to be independent. Itís important that they want to be responsible for themselves.
As a parent you need to be able to read their cues. If they are not telling you they have gone to the bathroom, then they are probably hiding in a corner somewhere looking for privacy.