Toilet training

When and how to begin potty training.

First time parents will often find themselves at odds as to when and how to start toilet training their young child once they begin walking. So how does a parent know when their child is ready to begin toilet training? Michigan State University Extension says that there are a number of things a parent can consider to determine if their child is ready.

First of all, toilet training is a developmental milestone. It cannot be hurried and will eventually happen. It is important for parents to look for signs the child is giving that may indicate their child is ready. According to, bowel training occurs before urine training because children can control the sphincter muscle at an earlier age, compared to when they are able to recognize and control muscles that control urination. Behavior for bowel movement can also be more recognizable. Daytime training occurs before night time training. Girls are usually trained before boys, starting around 18 months and boys around 22 months, or later. The child needs to have biological control of elimination before they start. Other things to consider are: Does the child understand and use words for elimination, are they interested and motivated by wearing real underwear, can the child pull pants down or up, are they coordinated enough to walk to the bathroom and complete the task, do they stay dry for several hours.

After careful consideration, is the parent ready to start? If parents work, when would be a good time to start? Have parents and family discuss the situation. Are there any crises going on that would hinder training? Does the parent have all that is needed for the child to start?

Parents can start by getting their child familiar with the toilet functions. Sometimes the noise and rapid water motion can scare children. Children should have their own child-sized toilet or, if the child shows interest, use the adult toilet. Answer questions and concerns the child may have. The parent can start by bowel training. Look for the child’s cues indicating the need to pass a bowel and start a routine of sitting at potty during those times. Be consistent. From there on, parents are ready to move on to urination training. After the child has familiarized themselves with the potty and has had bowel movements, emphasize you (the parent) will be helping them to use the potty. Start as soon as the child gets up and use loose clothing. Schedule intervals, such as every one to two hours that the child will be taken to potty. If accidents occur, be matter of fact. Children may continue

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