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Potty Training: Is My Child Ready?

So you think your child may be ready for potty training, but you can never be sure of things with kids, can you? You are not the only one. Potty training depends on the readiness of your child. Toilet training is a natural function that requires biological maturation coupled with a child's desire to master controlling urination and bowel movements. The perfect age to begin is different for every child. It can be anywhere from 18 months to thirty-two months. There isn’t no right way to potty train your child, so you just have to go with the flow - just keep positive and stay patient.

According to experts, more than 80% of children have setbacks in toilet training. Setbacks are the usual path to gaining mastery of toileting. They are normal. Just because your child is facing setbacks it doesn't mean you've done something wrong as a parent. However, before getting your kid started with potty training, it is necessary for you to make sure that he is ready for it. Here are a few signs to tell if your child is ready for potty training or not:

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7 He Shows an Interest in Using the Potty

Is your child curious about the potty and how it works? Does he ask you a million and one questions about the potty? Does he sneak into the bathroom to see what you are doing? If all this is true, then your child is ready to take a step into the world of potty training. Being interested in the potty opens up your child’s eyes to a whole another hole that consists of potties.

Children see everyone using the potty, which makes them want to use it too. They want to be a part of the “big person” club. They don’t want to be left out of something so cool. If you find your child is curious, take the time to teach him (trust me, if you don’t, he would never leave you alone). Demonstrate to your child how you use the potty, explain the process step by step so he is able to understand. Tell your child that the potty is his friend and whenever he feels the urge to (insert your little cutesy word for number 1 or number 2 here) the potty is there for him to use.

Offer Assurance to Him

Using the potty might be scary to your child at first, especially using the public toilet. Assure your child that there is nothing to be afraid of. He will eventually get the picture; whether it’s next week or next year, it will sink in. Hey, at least he is interested in using the potty. It’s a start.

6 He Follows Simple Instructions

If your child can follow through with basic instructions such as “go to the bathroom”, “turn on the light”, ”pull down your pants and underwear”, “sit on the potty”, and so on, then potty training should be somewhat a breeze (I say somewhat because kids can be so unpredictable). If you feel like your child may be ready for the toilet, but are a little unsure how he will handle things, test him. Give him simple directions about going to the bathroom and see what happens. If this successfully happens the way it should, then congrats… your child just stepped up to the big league.

To encourage your child to continue doing a good job, you can shower the little one with praise. Verbal praise builds up a child’s confidence. This will help to give your child positive reinforcement as he tries to conquer this whole potty training thing. Positive reinforcement is defined as the addition of a reward following desired behavior with the purpose of increasing the likelihood the behavior will occur again. Chances are that accidents will still continue, but at least, he will begin to notice that he did something right and he will be eager to do it again.

It's What Kids Need

Positive reinforcement is the push that all children need. One of the best positive reinforcement options is to treat your child with something like a special outing such as going to the park or movies. Give him the foods that he likes such as pizza or ice cream. Now, if your child doesn’t do a successful job, don't worry worries. He is still young. Just correct him and assure him that it is okay - mistakes happen. Give him a big mommy hug to make him feel better.

5 Your Child Engages in Activities

It is important that your child can sit and engage in an activity for more than a few minutes. Normally, a child's attention span is very short and I’m sure a lot of parents know this. If it’s not interesting enough, it’s not worth their time. They can be easily distracted by anything. Children like to be active and like to have fun - potty training does not fall in those two categories.

Having a good attention span will make potty training a lot easier. You can go a long way with this. Now, that you have your child's attention, you can take it a step further by getting creative. Kids love fun and you can make going to the potty fun too. Be creative when you’re potty training your child. You can try different fun tactics to get them to be engaged. Oh, the things parents do for their children, no matter how silly or stupid it looks!

A Fun Experience

Being creative will make potty training a fun experience for your child. Also, you would be considered the cool parents in your child’s eyes, so keep being creative and your child will love it You can make up a potty song about going to the potty. Singing is a good motivational technique. You can also make up a little potty party with his stuffed toys.

If you want to kill two birds with one stone, have a book or magazine near the toilet so your child has something to read while there are using the potty. Children are often swayed by their peers, so have a potty-trained friend come over and demonstrate using the potty to him. Hey, since it’s not his parents showing him the way, maybe and hopefully he will learn faster if a friend taught him instead. Friends make it look cool if not cooler.

Another popular technique is a sticker chart. Make a chart of the days of the week. place the chart in the bathroom or on your fridge in the kitchen. Give your child a sticker to place on the chart whenever he succeeds at training.

4 He Has Gained Control on His Bladder and Bowel Movements

It is important that your child recognizes and understands when he wants to go or does not want to go to the bathroom. It means that he is getting in tune with his little body. Now, if you feel like your child will need a little more help in this direction, you can help him learn to control his bladder and bowel movements.

According to experts, you need to put your child on the potty first thing in the morning, before naps, after naps, after meals, after being dry for two hours, and before bedtime. Initially, a regular schedule can help with this process. Sit with your child while he is using or trying to use the bathroom until he feels comfortable enough to use the bathroom on his own…you know to keep him company. It will make your child more at ease. Seeing you there will have a smile on your child’s face.

A Tip to Get You Going

Is your little nugget having trouble going? Running water is a good inspiration for them to go. I mean, the sound of running water would make anyone want to go, right? If that doesn’t work, offer your child some water to drink. The more a child drinks, the more he will need to urinate and respond to body signals.

Consolidate success by maintaining the same routine for several weeks. Keep in mind that even children who have mastered the bathroom procedure may wet their pants during the day for several weeks or months. Praise your child for his commitment and dedication. This is hard work for a child.

3 He Stays Dry For Longer Periods of Time

Does your child remain dry after he takes a nap? Is he staying dry for longer periods of time such as two or more hours? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, staying dry longer indicates increased bladder control which is an important prerequisite for potty training. That’s Awesome!!! Don’t you think? The lesser the diapers you have to change, the happier you will be.

If you think your child is not at this stage yet, it’s okay. Every child is different. However, if you are tired of constantly changing diapers, it is necessary for you to encourage him to stay dry, but only if you think he can. In order to make this happen, you kind of have to work on it with your child. Teaching a child something new is tough. Make frequent trips to the bathroom to practice using the toilet, like when he wakes up in the morning or after naps, before and after meals, and before he goes to sleep for the night. Have your child sit on the potty for a couple of minutes. If something happens, then it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You can’t force him to do something that he may not want to. Let your child learn from you and those around him or her.

Build Interest

Children are often interested in their family’s bathroom activities. It is sometimes helpful to let children watch parents, and older brothers, and sisters when they go to the bathroom. Seeing these people use the toilet will make your child want to do the same.

2 He Can Run and Walk

You want to make sure that your child is capable of walking or running to the bathroom before getting started with potty training. The bathroom is not always close by for children. If your child has the recognition that he has to use the potty, he will express it to you through his facial expression or body language and then it’s up to mom or dad to crack the code. Nothing is worse to a child than having an accident. He will feel really bad if an accident does happen.

If an accident does happen for whatever reason, like if your child doesn’t make it to the bathroom on time, you should start offering reminders to him. So your baby had an accident and now you have to come and save the day. Mommy to the rescue! It’s going to be all okay.

Accidents most likely happen when kids are involved in engaging activities that are far more interesting than the potty. Children like to play and they don’t like anything to interfere with their activities. Potty training is not interesting enough to hold their attention, so it can be a bit of a drag for children. Before another accident happens, suggest regular bathroom trips, before and after any activities or outings.

Stay Calm

Do not yell or shame your child if he does have an accident. He may already be feeling bad enough and you should refrain from making it even worst for him. His little fragile feelings can’t take it. It will break his little heart. Assure your child that accidents happen and it’s no big deal. Dry his tears and give him a big mommy hug.

While you're at it, pull out an extra underwear or absorbent underwear, just in case an accident is around the corner. It never hurts to be prepared. It will make things so much easier for you - and well, that’s being a mom in a nutshell.

1 He Can Pull His Pants On and Off

That’s right! Your baby is no longer a baby - he is growing up and grasping onto his independence. His mind is opening up to other things. If your child can pull his pants up and down with ease, then you are halfway there with potty training. This will help make the process go smoothly for you and your child and when it comes to potty training your child, a smooth process sounds beautiful to parents. You go through enough already as a mother; something has to go peacefully in your life. I mean let’s be real here, motherhood is rewarding, but it can very hard at times.

Your child may also show an interest in wearing “big-kid” underwear also. Diapers just don’t cut it for him anymore. This is another key sign that your child is ready for potty training. This is your baby's way of telling you that, “Mommy, I want to be like the big kids.” You have to encourage your child's growth at some point, so why not start now when he is clearly ready for it. This is a good thing, so take your child shopping for some underwear that he can wear.

Time For You To Get Started

If all these signs are present in your child, then congrats, he is ready for potty training. You must be so thrilled right now, but if you start feeling sad about those potty training accidents later on, rest-assured that it’s not as bad as it seems, I promise you. You can do this, you got this. Your child will be a pro at potty training when you will get done with it. 

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