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Pertinent Pediatric Advice From Dr. Dan

March 22, 2016

-by Dr. Daniel Wolloch

Toilet training!! Ah, the end of huge diaper bags as your constant travel buddy. No more midnight runs for diapers! No more searching for places to change your child, and no more of the dreaded upright or squirmy child diaper change! Yes, your life will become so much easier once your child is fully trained. Here are some helpful hints to make that transition as smooth as possible.

The two key points are the two P’s of positivity and patience.

You child must have a positive association with this process to ensure success. Create a comfortable place for potty training. You may use a potty in your bathroom or a toilet seat insert with a bench for their feet. The bench is to ensure that your child’s feet are firmly on the ground. Children become afraid that they may fall into the toilet if their feet dangle off the ground. They will feel more at ease (and more able to eliminate) when they feel grounded. Do not expect your child to sit more than a minute at first However, never force them to sit if they are not interested. Just try again later. Make the experience of sitting fun in order to motivate then to sit. Sing a song or read a book to make it enjoyable. Your goal is to make them comfortable sitting on the potty. Elimination is a bonus at first. Eventually they will figure out to eliminate when they sit. You may use targets for them to aim their pee once they are old enough to stand and pee.

Give them plenty of praise for their effort regardless of how long they sit. Make them feel proud or like a “big kid”. You may even use a reward chart at first. Give them a sticker to place on a calendar or chart each time they sit. Agree with them to buy a small gift or treat them to a special event if they get 5 stickers or so over the span of a couple of days. Who doesn’t love bribery?

Be patient! I cannot stress this enough. My experience has been that kids become reluctant to train when they feel rushed. They are then pressured into doing something of which they are not capable. They become anxious and then begin to withhold stooling. Hello constipation and even more resistance!

So, when should we start training? You may begin once your child acknowledges that they have something in their diaper. They will point to their diaper or even tell you that they are dirty and/or wet. That awareness is the key that they are ready. The best time to try to sit is after each time they eat. Children have a gastro-colic reflex that stimulates their need to eliminate stool. Humans often pee and stool simultaneously, so that may increase their chances of peeing successfully as well. Children often imitate their parents, so you can let them see you use the bathroom to encourage them. Watching videos such as Once Upon A Potty or Elmo’s Potty Training are great, too. Finally , remember that the average age of full continence in the US is somewhere around 3 years old. Have reasonable expectations for your child! They can only develop as quickly as they are able.

Well. I hope that these are some useful tips to make potty training as successful as possible. Don’t forget toilet locks on the adult toilets. They are a drowning hazard! Good luck!!

 

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