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Potty Training

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

If you ask 10 parents how they potty trained their child, you will most likely get 10 different answers. “Potty training isn’t one diaper fits all and it doesn’t work in one day,” says pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard, co-host of The Kid’s Doctor radio show. “When your child is ready, there are signs they are ready.” Those signs, she says, include showing interest in the potty and going to the potty several times successfully. “Start at 18 months and buy a potty, put it in the bathroom and let the child touch it, sit on it, play with it, carry it around the house, whatever, to be involved in the bathroom.”

By age two, a child may use the potty on occasion and then, Dr. Sue says, you can put them in training pants, not “pull-ups.” “Pull-ups are diapers with legs. The child does not understand the difference. They don’t get wet, they don’t have that sense of feeling dirty,” she emphasizes.

It can take anywhere from three to six months for your child to become potty trained. During that time it is important for parents to praise and reward their children for their efforts, but do not punish them if they have a relapse or accident. “Parents need to recognize there is a commitment parents must make in order to make this successful,” says Dallas-based child neuropsychologist Dr. Kristy Hagar. Dr. Hubbard concurs saying “Parents need to use declarative statements like ‘It’s time to go potty Susie’ not ‘Do you need to go?’”

Both Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Hagar offer some final pieces of advice for parents: Realize that every child is different and if you are in the middle of potty training, don’t give up.

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