Your baby: Month 21

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What's the baby up to?

Growth points

The potty training drill

The right time to start the long process of ditching nappies depends far more on individual development than on age. If a child is not developmentally ready, potty training is bound to fail.

Toddlers must be able to understand simple one- or two-step instructions, be physically capable of sitting down on the potty and then standing back up again. They should be able to sit still for a minute or two, and be capable of removing their pants on their own.
Your child should be aware of his poos and wees when they are about to happen.
Most children aren't ready to begin potty training before two years and girls are usually ready earlier than boys. It takes about three months to potty train a child.
Don't feel pressurised by other parents or feel inadequate if your child lags behind his or her peers.

Steps for success

1. When your child is urinating or having a bowel movement, tell him what he is doing in a matter-of-fact way.
2. Never make any negative comments, such as "phew, what a smelly nappy".
3. Always use the same terms, such as "making a wee" or "making a poo".
4. Kids are great imitators. Get your child used to the idea of using the toilet by taking him with you when you go. Explain what is happening and demonstrate how flushing works.
5. Co-ordinate potty training with all other caregivers, such as creche staff and babysitters.
6. Buy a special potty that fits on the regular toilet seat or a separate children's potty if your child is intimidated by the toilet.
7. Pull-ups can be helpful - use disposable ones if your child is used to cloth nappies, and vice versa, so they feel different.
8. Don't remind the child too often to use the potty. Your child will only feel pressurised and may become resistant.
9. Encourage practice runs to the potty after a nap or a meal and before you leave the house.

Other stuff to think about

Big bed time

Your toddler might be ready to move from his cot to a crib by his 2nd birthday or you can move your toddler to a bed when he is 3 feet tall and starts to climb over the side of his cot.

 Get a toddler bed – it is smaller than a standard single bed.
 Don't place the bed next to a window or window blind cords.
 There should space next to each side of the bed so that he cannot get trapped between a wall and the bed.
 Don't use electric blankets. 

Go back to the complete list of Baby week-by-week updates.

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