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Parents Talk: Potty Training — When to Start? Tips?

The Patch Parents Council talks about another parenting issue.

This week's topic is potty training. What are your best potty training tips?

It's the first major rite of passage for our children, their first foray into independence.

There's a new "infant/early start potty training" movement underway to the training as early as just a few months — what are your thoughts on that?

Share your potty training success stories. Tell us what worked for you.

Patch's feature, "Parents Talk," is meant to help build a community of support for families in Fairfield County through active discussion of important issues. Each week, we'll introduce a new topic and hope you'll participate in the conversation, which will be moderated and furthered by select parent council representatives in your town. Comment threads will close after the weekend.

Please use the comment box below for questions, or to share your experiences and the lessons you have learned. Please also submit questions or topics for future discussions to Associate Regional Editor Liz Mitchell at liz@patch.com and Regional Editor Michael Dinan at michaeld@patch.com.

And if you'd like to join our parent council, let us know.

Erin E. Harrison March 25, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Every child is ready for this level of independence at different stages and I don't believe it should be forced, especially not too early. When a child is ready to start using the potty, the signals are there for parents. It's our job to help encourage them to achieve success (with rewards like a sticker chart and a lot of verbal praise). Forcing a child to do something too early associates negativity to whatever that task or goal is...show positive reinforcement, give strong encouragement and follow their pace. Medically and physically, before a child can be "toilet trained", he or she must have attained a certain amount of readiness...in infancy, babies frequently are unable to hold large amounts of urine in their bladder. As they grow, they will stay dryer for longer intervals and this is a more ideal time to start with a potty seat or potty. Finally, most children do not start to walk until one year of age, so trying to "potty-train" an infant is unfair and unrealistic.
Suzanna Pollak March 25, 2011 at 04:52 PM
I agree with Erin. For the most part, potty training is in the hands of the child, not the parent. I will add that in our case, when my girls showed signs of readiness (at about age 2 1/2), I "bit the bullet" and went straight to panties - no Pull ups. We had a rough day or two and then it was over. I feel that Pull ups just prolong the agony (except at night, because some children are just not ready for that until later). I also agree that it is unrealistic to potty train a child who is non-verbal or not yet mobile.
Jodi Helman March 25, 2011 at 06:01 PM
I found the whole experience to be much easier than I thought it would be. I was expecting lots of tears, accidents and stress, but in the end my daughter took right to it. I don't know if it was because we waited until she was three, or that we were just lucky. But I didn't want to force her to potty train until she was ready, and using diapers didn't bother anybody else, so why go earlier? The only tip I can offer is to relax about it -- it's a normal bodily function, so try not to stress. All kids eventually get it. Oh, and the Elmo video was a bonus, too!

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