Media Release: Think potty training is an unbeatable task? Think again (Tips to potty train with ease)

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Tips to potty train with ease

09-21-2009 (Dayton, OH) - Few steps are more important in a child's development than potty training. This first step into becoming a "big kid" can be frustrating for a parent, but it is an exciting and crucial point in a child's life.

On average, potty training begins around age 2, although some children do not start until they are 3. Parents should consult a physician if interest or progress has not been made by the age of four.

How can you know if a child is ready to take on potty training?

There are six important questions you can ask:

  1. Does your child seem interested in the potty chair or toilet, or in wearing underwear?
  2. Can your child follow basic instructions and ask simple questions?
  3. Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day?
  4. Does he or she wake up dry from naps?
  5. Is your child uncomfortable in wet or dirty diapers?
  6. Does your child have the motor skills to sit on and raise from the potty chair, pull his or her pants up and down on his own?
If you find yourself answering 'yes' to the majority of these questions, your child is most likely ready to begin potty training.

If you answered mainly 'no' and your child is in the age group from 2 to 3, this could be an indication that your child is not developmentally ready for toilet training.

Initiating toilet training when a child is not ready can create stress for the child and ultimately prolong the toilet training process.

If you are anticipating a major change in the child's life (death or major illness in the family, birth of a new sibling or a move) it is recommended that potty training is held off until a more stable environment is maintained for you and your child.

Before you begin potty training a child, parents should be sure they will be available during the entire process. This takes time, energy and many deep breaths.

There are thousands of tips floating around books, newspapers and websites to help with this seemingly impossible task. Some of the most helpful include:

  1. Sit your child on the toilet a few times a day without a diaper for small amounts of time.
  2. Try placing the contents of a dirty diaper into the toilet to demonstrate to the child what you what them to do.
  3. When any type of progress occurs, reward the child with potty charts and stickers and other small things as incentive. Consistent encouragement is needed.
  4. When switching to underwear, make sure the child does not wear restricting clothing. Easily removed items are your best bet.
  5. Night time training will follow day time. Allow the child to wear training pants at night.
  6. Keep an extra set of clothing at school and with you or others around the child for long periods of time (sitter, grandparents etc).
It is also important to allow your family members to get involved. If your child has older siblings, allow them to participate. Your potty trainee will look up to the older sibling as an example.

Ask family members to help with the process and make sure they use the same methods you have established.

It is also important to:

  • Keep a sense of humor. Do not refer to the act as dirty or the child may lose interest.
  • Establish a routine for your child (when they wake up, after meals, before bed, etc).
  • Expect accidents- stay patient and calm. Never punish a child for accidents.
  • Always offer praise when progress or repetition of a correct action is shown.
  • Be excited for your child while they are learning what the "big kids" do.
According to Eileen Kasten, medical director of child development at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, if you have a child with special needs, emphasize the routine aspect to make learning easier.

You can make the process fun for your child by reading books on potty training or making up and singing songs with the child.

At the same time, "be careful about making the experience 'fun' as that might actually be distracting your child from relaxing their body and focusing on relaxing the necessary muscles," says Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children's.

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