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When To Potty Train

Apr 24, 2008
Beginning to potty train your youngster can be a difficult process. While some children are ready at about two years of age, others are ready when they are much older. By starting to potty train too young, the process will just take you longer to complete. To determine if your child is ready to begin potty training, you need to evaluate his actions and how developed his understanding skills are.

If your child can understand simple instructions and can ask questions, he should be capable of understanding potty training. If he shows interest in the in the potty chair or wearing underwear, he may be ready to begin his potty training. If your child can go two hours without wetting his diaper and has regular bowel movements, he is probably ready to be trained. If your child is telling you that he needs to go to the potty and can pull his pants up and down by himself, he is definitely ready to begin potty training.

The first step to successful potty training is to ready the equipment. Your child should have his own potty chair. If you try to have him sit on the regular toilet seat, your child will feel unsure of himself and may even become scared. You may want to purchase a potty seat with a detachable seat that you can use on the toilet later, but to begin with you should let him use the small seat.

For the first few days, you should sit your child on the potty seat while he is still in his diaper. This will accustom him to sitting on it before he is expected to do anything else. You should sit with him and explain what the chair is for so it does not come as a surprise to him later. You may also want to let him watch another member of the family go to the bathroom so your child can get the general idea of using the potty.
Your child is now ready to begin potty training. You should pull his diaper down and set him on the seat several times a day, encouraging him to go. After a few minutes, replace his diaper and praise him for doing a good job (even if he didn't actually use the potty). You should remind your child that he can try again later. During this time, if you notice that your child is squirming or acting like he needs to go, get him to the potty chair as fast as possible. Once your child has gone in the potty for several days, trade his diapers for underwear (at least during the day) and make a celebration out of it. If he does have an accident, you should not make a big deal out of it. Praise his accomplishments and minimize his failures. Within a few months after potty training, your child should start remaining dry all night.

If your child experiences difficulties or refuses to use the potty, give up the training for awhile. Trying to force him will only frustrate your child more.

Potty training is one of the most difficult things that you will have to teach your child. Remember to make it enjoyable for him to make the transition easier on him. Again, praise his accomplishments and minimize his failures. After all, potty training is the most important step in your child's young life.
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