It’s potty-training time!

By Drum Digital
14 April 2014

Ask any mom – potty training is by no means an easy thing to do. But if you look out for the signs your child is ready, follow a few easy steps and, above all, stay calm and encouraging, it will be one of the most rewarding moments of toddlerhood – for you and your child.

Clinical psychologist Mareli Fischer says it’s key parents keep their own anxieties about the situation in check while always approaching it with patience and encouragement. This might be easier said than done. “It is of great importance for a mother and father to be supportive and to provide the child with a safe space, as well as being encouraging,” says Fischer.

“Children in this developmental phase are exploring their own bodies and also the power they have over their environment,” she adds.

When should you start?

Although there’s no official age to start with potty training, the average age to begin is between 18 months and three years old. Before the age of 18 months, a child’s bladder and bowel isn’t mature enough for them to control yet.

“Children are different therefore the right time to start with potty training will vary from child to child,” says Fischer.

“Stay calm, remind yourself that your child is unique and all children's developmental paths are unique.”

Look out for the signs

That being said, there are certain signs a parent should look out for. Your child is probably ready to lose the nappy when:

  • They show an interest in using a toilet.
  • They prefer wearing underwear to a nappy.
  • They indicate they want to use the toilet through facial expressions or by leading you to the bathroom.
  • They stay dry for at least two hours or during naps. This shows they have control over their bladder muscles.
  • They have words for urine and stool.

Step by step

Although each parent and their child will find the way that works best for them both, there are some steps you could follow:

  • Put the potty in an easily accessible area for your child.
  • Encourage your child to sit on the potty while wearing a nappy several times a day. This will help them get used to the concept.
  • Let your child sit on the potty about an hour after drinking something.
  • Try to establish a consistent, predictable routine for your child.
  • Sit with your child while they’re on the potty.
  • Praise your child for sitting on the potty – even if they don’t do anything. This will build your child’s confidence and self-esteem and they’ll associate sitting there with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Let your child wear underwear often, but keep the nappy on standby.
  • Don’t ever shame your child for an accident or not using the potty when they sit there!
  • Stay calm – this too shall pass.

-Katlego Mkhwanazi

Extra sources: babycentre.co.uk, mayoclinic.org

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