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Preparing for Potty Training

It’s hard to imagine that within two years of being born your baby might very well be ready for potty training. Of course you shouldn’t let the numbers fool you. A few children are ready to learn to use the potty as early as eighteen months while others are in diapers well after their third birthday. Potty training is more about your child than your wishes – working on her timetable will be much less stress-free than forcing the issue before she’s ready. And as a general rule of thumb, the older she is, the easier the process will be.

The First Signs of Readiness
The first signs of readiness for potty training can show up before eighteen months, but you should wait until your child is displaying lots of signs rather than just one or two. The more ready she is, the easier it will be. The most common signs of potty training readiness include:

  • A desire to stay clean
  • Words or signs for pee and poop.
  • The ability to hold the pee or poop for a short time.
  • Recognizing when she’s going.
  • Dry diapers for increasing periods of time.
  • Has well formed bowel movements at a roughly regular time.
  • Pulling pants up and down.
  • Sitting still for two to five minutes.
  • Interest in your bathroom habits.
  • A cooperative period of behavior.
  • Being pleased with herself for a good job.

The more signs of readiness your child exhibits on a regular basis, the closer you are to being ready to start potty training in earnest.

Lay a Solid Foundation
Well before the full-blown potty training experience, start laying a foundation for the training by using the proper words and helping her learn the process. Toddlers love to flush the potty and wash their hands – although usually their shirt gets more clean in the process than their hands. Bring your toddler with you to the restroom and let her sit on an inexpensive toddler potty while you use the regular potty. Even sitting in her diapers, she’s learning the basics.

Always follow the right routine since she’s most certainly paying attention. Go, wipe, flush and wash every time so that when it’s time she’ll already know the basics. When you change her diaper ask her to clarify is she is wet or dirty. Use the same words you’d like her to use when she’s a big kid and her vocabulary foundation will be growing as well.

Wait for the Right Time
Potty training can be done badly as easily as it can be done well. To potty training effectively, you’ll need a decent stretch of time, up to a month, that nothing dramatic is going on.

Don’t plan to potty training in the first few months of being a Big Sister or right before or after a big move. Potty training is a huge step and should be done independently of other large developmental steps such as moving out of the crib, giving up the bottle and leaving comfort items, such as pacifiers, behind. Time the training properly and be consistent in your approach – diapers are almost as good as gone.

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