Before You Start Toilet Training

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What should I do before I start to toilet train my child?

Before You Start Toilet Training

Before you even begin toilet training, make sure these things are in place:

(1) Decide if your child is even ready to be potty trained. Day care centers, family members, and other parents can make a parent feel stressed if his/her child isn't out of diapers by a certain age. Understand that there are kids who aren't potty trained into their "4's" and there is nothing wrong with them. Every child's body matures individually and what worked for one child doesn't mean it's going to work for another.

(2) Knowing if a child can be potty trained is one of the hardest jobs for a parent, but stressing out, screaming and yelling, and basically being a control freak about it, is only going to lead to a lot of tears from both sides. Approach with the acceptance your child is your child. What worked for someone else's child doesn't mean it will work for yours and if your child gets potty training in a weekend or over six months, the more stressed out you become with it, the harder it is for both of you. Believe me, your child will not go to prom in a diaper, so be patient with the child and yourself.

(3) Decide which words you are going to use to refer to body fluids, functions and body parts. It is best to be direct and consistent when potty training. To help teach the concept, you may want to let your child watch you use the toilet. If your child has other caregivers, talk to them about your plans, and develop a plan to ensure consistency so everyone who is involved is using the same words. If everyone is using something different, the child can become confused and frustrated when asked to perform. Consistency is your best friend when it comes to potty training and using the same vocabulary everyday the same way will help move the progress forward--even if it's only a cenimeter at a time.

(4) Figure out what the reward is going to be when the child gets it and how to handle it when the child doesn't. Stickers, coins in a piggy bank, or simply lots of praise/hugs/kisses are great rewards. Stay away from food as a reward if possible because it starts a situation where the child might want to eat as a reward for everything they accomplish. If the child doesn't get it that time, remember, there will be many other chances and the child should be given a hug and praise for even trying. This applies to if the child tells you their diapers are soiled. This is the start of an awareness and that's a great sign!

(5) The parents need decompression when potty training a child. Have a plan in place for yourself as well when dealing with the frustration of a child not quite out of diapers. Some days will look promising and others will take backwards steps, but knowing that each day is a day closer to being a diaper free house is a positive one. Screaming at the child will add stress and push the training backwards. Praise versus punishment usually works better for these situations.

Good Luck!



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