How To Potty Train Your Child

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My grandmother swears that my mother was potty trained by the time she was a year old.  I don’t doubt that what she says is true, but I’ve never had any of my children trained by the time they were a year old. 

According to my pediatrician, most children train around 2 1/2 years of age.  She was quick to point out that this was the AVERAGE age for most children.  There are plenty of children who train earlier and also later. 

If you are trying to potty train your child, make sure first that your child is interested!  Above all, don’t get stressed out about the whole process.  If you become stressed, your child will get stressed and it will delay progress.  If you are trying to potty train your child before the birth of a sibling, you may want to re-think your plan.  I’ve found that most children tend to regress slightly when their younger sibling is born.  It’s best to wait until after the baby arrives to begin the whole process. 

Watch for Signs

Around 1 1/2 years of age, most children begin to be bothered by a wet diaper.  My son will actually go and get a new diaper when he needs it to be changed!  This is an important start to the potty training process. 

Get Some Supplies

When my children showed signs of getting ready to potty train, I bought a potty seat and put it in the living room.  I’d let them play with the potty and get used to sitting on it. 

Reward Good Behavior

Every time my son sits on the potty and makes an effort to “go”, I put a sticker on his “potty chart”.  He loves stickers!  For some children, the stickers are enough. 

When he “goes” in the potty, I give him a small piece of chocolate candy.  He really loves chocolate, and since I don’t give the children candy regularly, this is a big treat.  Remember to praise your child verbally when he or she “goes” on the potty too!

Some Things To Remember

Potty training is a process, and it can be a long process!  Remember that it’s not a competition to see who can potty train their child first.  If you sister’s child potty trains before your child, that is OK.  You are raising your child, not racing your child against other children.

Don’t allow people to put guilt trips on you about your parenting abilities based upon your child’s potty training progress.  Potty training really has very little to do with you, the parent, or your parenting abilities.  My youngest daughter was almost 4 years old before she decided she wanted to use the potty regularly.  In contrast, her older sister was 19 months old when she was potty trained. 

Above all, keep your sense of humor and try to not get discouraged!  When you become discouraged, remember this tidbit my daughter’s pediatrician shared with me–no child ever started kindergarten in a diaper.  In other words, eventually, your child will become potty trained!


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