Are you so ready to have your little ones out of diapers? There are a few things that we should look for prior to taking the plunge into potty training to ensure it doesn’t go down the toilet. Just know these are not absolutes but rather guidelines for readiness.
- Can your child dress and undress themselves?
- Is your child showing interest in the toilet?
- Does your child notice when they have gone to the bathroom?
- Does your child communicate that they need to go to the bathroom?
- Is your child willing to interrupt an activity/play to use the bathroom?
The last one can be the hardest for some children and can be the behavioral cause of urinary or stooling accidents.
Typically awareness of bladder sensation and control starts between 1-2 years old. Voluntary control of pelvic muscles occurs by age 3 with complete bladder control by the age of 4. Know that daytime potty training often precedes nighttime readiness by 6-10 months, so we aren’t necessarily looking to be completely out of diapers all at once.
Keep in mind Potty training can be more difficult to start during major life changes (birth of a sibling, moving, etc…). Early stressful events can be associated with the onset of constipation in school-aged children which can lead to a variety of bowel and bladder issues. It is okay to alter your potty training timeline to avoid delaying factors.
So now that I know that my child is ready, how do I set my child up for success on the potty?
- Starting the process: Ask your child to vocalize what they are feeling. If your child is still working on their communication skills, verbal the bathroom signs you are seeing.
- Positioning: Help your child get into a position with their hips below their knees. This helps the pelvic floor to relax. Try utilizing a stool or low-sitting potty. Lean them forward. This too can encourage further relaxation to minimize straining.
- Breathing: Help encourage your child to take deep breaths while going to the bathroom. This helps to avoid breath holding which can increase the risk for straining and fear of stooling.
- Don’t Rush: Not allowing your child to fully relax by rushing them through the process can lead to incomplete emptying. This can lead to problems down the road such as frequency and constipation.
Most importantly, take it at your child’s pace to ensure that potty training doesn’t stink! Know that your Mainstreet Pediatric Providers are always here for you if any questions arise while going through the process.