Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Potty Training-Part 1 (Toddler/Preschool)

For those of us who have potty trained at least two children and one from each sex, know that potty training has to be unique to each child.  Some children are easy to train, while we wonder if others will be going to kindergarten in Pull-Ups!  To come up with a successful strategy, we need to look at two factors.  The first being the readiness of your child and the second being your child’s temperament.

Readiness in children is assessed by their age and maturity.  Most children by the age of three should be in some sort of potty training even if they aren’t mature.  Of course there are exceptions if your child is special needs, but most children have control of their sphincter and bladder muscles at this age. For other children, they are ready at 18 months.  They may already have a vocabulary of bodily functions and are asking you to change them.  If they are exhibiting this kind of recognition, toilet training as arrived at your house.   Remember though, that the younger you start potty training, the more accidents they will likely have until potty training is complete.  This is because most children do not have control of their sphincter muscles at a young age.  The American Academy of Pediatrics states on their website:
            “Before children are 12 months of age, they have no control over bladder or bowel movements.  While many children start to show sign of being ready between 18 and 24 months of age, some children may not be ready until 30 months or older.  This is normal.”
You may read their entire article at http://www.aap.org/publiced/BR_ToiletTrain.htm .  While we were living in Russia, I discovered that Russians start potty training before the first year.  When I expressed that my 9 month old was not ready, they just laughed and said we had a huge flaw in our American society called infantism that encouraged our children to not grow up!   So for my multicultural friends, remember that there are many hard and fast rules that pertain to your culture and may not be best for your child. 
Next week we will talk about how to assess your child’s temperament and what that means for your potty training strategy. 
How did you decide when your child was ready?


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