The ideal age According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is no exact age to start potty training. Rather, parents are advised to observe and wait for certain signs of readiness in their child:
Physical readiness Is your child already showing clear signs of bladder control?
Emotional and Psychological readiness Pick a time for toilet-training when he is most willing to cooperate.
Intellectual readiness Has your child mastered enough language skills and is capable of assigning words to tasks and related items for toilet-training?
Boys vs. Girls Generally, girls are potty-trained faster than boys. Although both genders begin training by sitting down, boys have to eventually stand up and aim. Both boys and girls will benefit from a padded potty seat that fits over standard toilet seats.
For girls – Have her sit with knees apart on the potty seat and her vagina and bottom over the potty opening. Teach her to wipe from front to back after peeing. Keep some children’s books in the bathroom to distract and help her relax her pelvic muscles.
For boys – Initially let him sit if he’s not yet ready to pee standing up and instruct him to push his penis straight down the toilet opening. If he’s standing, position him directly in front of the toilet bowl with his legs slightly apart. Let dad show him how to aim into the bowl. To improve his target, drop a couple of rubber bands in the toilet and encourage him to hit those. When pooping, encourage sitting longer by distracting him with a book or by playing some music. Make hand washing a must for both boys and girls after using the toilet.
Provide incentives Try giving your child special prizes like stickers that he can affix to a progress chart. Let him pick the potty seat he likes best. When shopping for “big-kid” underwear, let him choose those printed with favorite items like cartoon characters or mascots.
Allay fears Encourage them to ask questions and give honest and simple explanations.
Daytime vs. Nighttime To prevent accidents during the nighttime, have your child use disposable training pants which are easy to pull down and up if and when he goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Also, monitor fluid intake before bedtime.
Handle accidents When accidents happen, handle them matter-of-factly as much as possible, coupled with love and understanding. Avoid accidents by suggesting regular bathroom breaks like upon waking up, after eating and drinking, before going out of the house and before sleeping. Also, always have a change of clothing and underwear ready if you are going out with your toddler.
Back off Stop toilet training for the meantime when your child refuses to cooperate, listen or obey. Wait a few weeks before resuming the training and until your child is less negative. If your child tends to be constipated a lot, address that issue first as it may be the reason for his reluctance.
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