|Dr. Caron Goode
||Potty Training Without a Power Struggle
When our children reach age two, it can be very tempting to push our children to potty train, whether or not they are ready. As a parent, when we see our children's peers master something new, it can be hard to sit back and wait for our child to naturally achieve the same developmental milestone.
But potty training before you and your child are ready often leads to stress, frustration and an unnecessary battle of the wills. Fortunately, if you wait until your child is ready to begin potty training, many of the power struggles that traditionally come along with it can be avoided.
Before you begin potty training, or if you are in the process and finding it unsuccessful, ask yourself these questions to help determine if your child is physically and emotionally ready to begin transitioning out of diapers.
- Does your child express interest in wanting to use the potty? Children who have a desire to use the potty may be more internally motivated to succeed.
- Does she have dry periods of 3 to 4 hours? Dry periods generally indicate that a child's bladder muscles are developed enough to hold urine.
- Are her stools are well formed? Is her bowel movement pattern predictable? Training is simplified when children have the predictable toileting patterns.
- Is your child coordinated enough to walk or run? Can she help pull down and up her pants? Using the potty takes coordination.
- Does your child give a physical or verbal sign, like grunting, hiding in the corner or pointing when she's having a bowel movement? These signs indicate she knows something is going on with her body.
- Is your child generally cooperative? Does she take pride in her accomplishments? Children who are eager to learn new skills may have better potty training success.
- Does your child have a desire to be independent? Children who want to do everything by themselves often want to learn to use the potty independently.
- Can your child follow simple instructions like "bring me your shoes?" Potty training requires the ability to listen to and follow instructions.
- Does your child have words for stool and urine? When children can express their needs to use the potty, training can be less stressful.
- Does your child understand she feels something when she has to go? Can she express it or hold it until she gets to the potty? Identifying you have to use the potty prior to going and then waiting to go until a potty is available takes a lot of work. Does your child have the skill, coordination and mindset to succeed?
Since potty training will take a huge time and energy commitment from you, you may also want to ask yourself:
- Are you ready to make a commitment? Do you have the patience, time and energy to deal with potty training accidents?
- Is there any other changes or events that may distract you or your child from potty training?
- Are you setting your child up for success? Do you have the right tools? Are you prepared to give your child the support she needs to succeed?
While potty training your child simply because she's at the right age to do so is tempting, waiting until both you and your child are ready will lead to greater success. Children who are ready to be potty trained tend to potty train more quickly and with less power struggles than those who are encouraged to begin potty training before they are truly ready.
© 2011 by Dr. Caron B Goode, NCC, DAPA.