In my previous potty training post, I outlined the first three steps of the potty training process – modeling, explaining and play – as outlined by Janeen Hayward, Clinical Psychologist and sleep/behavioral consultant with Swellbeing. The next step – PRACTICE – requires a post all its own, since there was so much great information. For someone like me who went into this information session knowing very little about the potty training process, hearing about some of these “best practices,” including some great tips about dealing with potty training challenges, was so so helpful to learn before starting the practice stage in earnest. I attended the session because I didn’t want to have to undo any damage before I even began. We are gearing up to start “practice” at the end of the month, and I am hoping to get started on the right foot.
There is no magical age when a child will be “ready.” There are a few non-negotiables when it comes to potty training, though. First, a child must be able to stand up and walk to the potty. (At least that’s one step we have covered!) Second, for optimal success, the child needs to show interest in the potty training process. Without interest, potty training becomes a battleground and a power struggle, which toddlers and preschoolers love (but doesn’t exactly make the process easy). Other positive signs of readiness include keeping a diaper dry for longer stretches, informing parent/caregiver that they are wet or dirty, and being able to pull his/her pants up and down. One major obstacle to tackle before training is constipation, either through dietary solutions or by consulting your pediatrician about the need of medication.
The speaker mentioned that there are “ideal windows” when potty training might be easier, including the early “1′s” (12-18 months), when toddlers are generally less focused on “no” and are more eager to please their parents than to assert their will. The late “1′s”/early “2′s” are a more difficult stage, when everything is a battle (see here). Typically, the most common age for potty training begins around 2.5 and continues through age 3. However, the challenge of waiting too long is that a child can become “diaper trained,” having trouble parting ways with his diapers, especially for pooping.