When is the right time to start potty training your baby? That is the eternal question with myriad different answers. While previous generations of mothers have promoted that babies should start potty training at 15-18 months of age, today the prevailing trend is to prolong this time. The truth is that babies are ready to start potty training in the period around 18 months of age.
Forcing a child to go to potty before their first birthday may cause anxiety in the child. It is fruitless to force a child to go to potty before he or she is mentally and physically ready for it.
According to current psychologists, the optimal age for potty training is 2 to 3 years of age. To start the potty training, it is favourable to wait for a period where no changes or new situations await the family. Parents should allot time and be as easy-going as possible. The entire situation may also be facilitated if you start potty training during summer months. These rules will help you with the training.
How Do You Know Your Child Is Ready
There are certain signs that may tell you your child is ready to start potty training. One of the noticeable manifestations is when the child shows deep dissatisfaction with soiled diaper. The capacity of the child's bladder and sphincters are developed sufficiently to hold urine and bowel movement. This is showed by the fact that children manage to keep their diaper clean for to to three hours. The child is not in the period of temper tantrums (also known as terrible twos). The child is able to take off his or her clothes or put them on. You notice that before relieving themselves into diapers, children stop their activity or search for a quiet and private spot.
Before you start potty training your child, the child should understand what do you want from him or her and should also be able to express their need for relief in words. When adjusting to potty, children require much attention and support. Boys usually take longer to potty train than girls. Be patient and do not punish the child in case of failure.
Take It Easy
Every child will eventually master the task of going to the potty or toilet. What they need is help and support of their parents, because it is naturally difficult for them to understand that what went without saying for a couple of years is no longer appropriate for older children. Sometimes, parents tend to stress both themselves and their child by succumbing to old-fashioned opinions that force children to go to the potty early. And sometimes, it almost seems like there is some kind of a race among mothers as to whose child will be the first. The key piece of advice is: let the others win. Each child has their own pace of development including the time they start going to potty.
There are difficult periods or periods of stress when you should postpone the potty training or take it easy. Such periods include travelling, arrival of a new sibling, transition from sleeping in a crib to sleeping in a bed, sickness or moving into a new house or flat.
A child to be potty-trained should understand simple instructions and be able to express their need to go to potty. You will need to use diapers for longer walks, trips, car rides etc., but take the potty with you anyway. It is even possible for the child to request the potty on a trip for themselves.
Acquaint the child with the potty and explain what it is for. Choose a place for the potty. It is recommended that the first moment to sit a child down on the potty is in the morning, right after the child wakes up. Ever since birth, children are fed in the morning and evacuation after a period of sleep is a physiological reflex reaction. Take advantage of this possible situation to train the will and realisation of the connection between the urge to urinate and sphincter control.
How to Achieve Control of Urine
At the beginning, sitting on the potty is a bit of annoyance to the child and they won't last long. Try to entertain the child, read to them, look at pictures together or chat. Books where animals or children sit on potties are a great source of motivation for the child. You can also help by letting tap water run - running water helps induce urination. Let the child sitting on the potty drink from a cup and encourage water intake in general. Always announce the intention or action of sitting the child down on the potty by using the same sentence.
Maintain the routine and mildly praise the child in case of success; however never scold the child in case of accident or failure. It is also important not to comment on the child's successes or failures in front of your friends or other people. Children are often more sensitive than we realise at the given moment and such situation may embarrass them. Also, do not comment in detesting manner what the child did in the potty - the child could relate such feelings to themselves. Children are entitled to little accidents, especially during the night, up to 5 years of age.
Consequences of Inappropriate Parents' Reactions
Inappropriate reactions of parents may have negative consequences and apart from other factors, potty training success depends on parental approach. Parents who use encouragement and praise at the right time help their children to better results; the children feel capable and productive. It is very inappropriate and short-sighted to punish, embarrass and mock children for their accidents. Wrong parental approach in this sensitive area and period of life may lead to disturbed personality.
How to Choose the Right Potty
It is important for the potty to be comfortable and stable. Do not sit the child down on the brand new potty right after you have brought it to your home; let the potty sit somewhere for a while to smoothly become a part of your household. When shopping for a potty, take your child with you in order to be able to measure the potty so as to pick one comfortable for your child. It is also favourable to let the child participate in the decision-making process; however it should be the adult who makes the final choice. For boys, choose potty types with an elevated front in order to prevent accidents while sitting on the potty. The potty practicality is an important criterion. It is suitable to buy a type that is easy to store so that we can also use it when travelling. Also select such a type that is comfortable to hold and trouble-free to discharge.
Nowadays, the market often offers modern potties with various features such as blinking lights, songs, etc. This year, the market will also see potties with an additional device similar to the popular iPad - so called iPotty. Their main purpose is to stall children on the potty as long as possible. Its equipment tells us as much - colourful design, durable screen and suitable applications. Some parents find these modern gadgets good, but the fact is that some children are frightened by the sounds and music coming from these potties. Then we will have more to worry about when we will be convincing a startled child for days to sit on a classic potty. We also need to consider that even though children may love a modern potty enriched with sound effects, it may make it difficult for children to switch to a usual toilet later. A usual toilet has no fancy gadgets on it. From this point of view, a classical potty seems to be the best choice.
Tips and Tricks for Faster Potty Training
- Be consistent, decide for a certain day to begin the training and keep it.
- Dress your child into clothes that are easy to take off. Taking clothes off before going to potty is also an important activity the child has to learn.
- Begin the training in the morning; never in the afternoon or evening.
- Sit your child on the potty any time you see him or her needing to go. If you can't tell, maintain two-hour intervals.
- Sitting on the potty should not take longer than a few minutes.
- If the child shows interest in what is in the potty, do not get angry at them or scold them; such interest is natural.
- Explain everything to the child (dolls and teddy-bears can help us demonstrate how to sit on the potty).
- Do not forget related hygienic habits such as wiping the bottom and washing hands.
- It usually takes about three months to master this task.
- Do not stress yourself or the child unnecessarily - every healthy child learns to go to potty eventually.
Disorders Resulting from Pressure on Losing the Diapers Early
The child starts going to potty, but problems with repeated bed-wetting start in later age. In such case, we need to go back to diapers and start potty training all over again only when the child is ready. Use your sensitivity and intuition to feel the right time. When under pressure to go to potty early, the child may develop a very unpleasant obsessive disorder. This disorder may occur even in a more mature age and it is called the Irritable Bladder Syndrome. It manifests with a constant need to urinate even the slightest contents of the bladder, mainly in stressful moments such as before a test or an exam or in work-related stress situations.
They Keep Bed-Wetting!
Children are entitled to an occasional bed-wetting accident up to their fourth or fifth year of age. More than 10% children keep bed-wetting at night even between 2 to 4 years of age. This is mostly caused by insufficiently developed concentration ability of kidneys, low bladder capacity and insufficient control and coordination of its voiding. However, it is better not to underestimate such problems and consult them with your pediatrician to be sure.
Children's bed-wetting, even in their sleep, must be dealt with after their fifth year of age. You may also partially prevent bed-wetting by a correct regimen of fluid intake and bladder voiding.
Enuresis - Nocturnal Bedwetting
Enuresis is a disorder in the ability to hold urine while asleep after the age at which bladder control usually occurs. It is a nocturnal involuntary urination in children older than 5 years. This problem is not usually related to any psychological or psychiatric disorder nor with functional or anatomical bladder disorder. However, such trouble are unpleasant both for the parents and the child suffering from it; these troubles may cause feelings of inferiority in the child.
This disorder is treated on the basis of adjustments to regimen measures and to fluid intake regime. It can also be treated pharmacologically.
Untreated nocturnal bedwetting is a cause of some mental problems for children, as it negatively influences children's confidence; bedwetting is accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame and loss of self-respect. Children suffering from bedwetting list this situation as one of the most stressful experience in their life.
Unfortunately, children with such troubles often fall victims to mockery and ridicule by other children of the same age. This makes the bedwetters shun society, isolate and feel embarrassed in front of other people. Often even in front of their own siblings. Worries of problems lead to avoidance of trips, camps, extracurricular activities, etc.
It is therefore necessary to approach the enuresis treatment actively and begin treatment as soon as possible after revealing such trouble.