Baby Your Baby: Child-driven potty training

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Child-driven potty training (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Potty training is one of the biggest steps a child takes in development and gaining independence. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends taking a child-driven approach to potty training.

“The child-driven technique is more looking for signs that your child’s physiologically and behaviorally ready to potty train,” Dr. Renee Olesen, a pediatrician at Intermountain Kearns Clinic said.

Olesen said parents should first evaluate the readiness of their little one. For example: Are they able to walk to a toilet? Can they sit and balance on a trainer-potty? Are they able to follow two-step commands and give you signals they need to use the bathroom?

“Are there still a lot of power struggles, temper tantrums? You may want to put off trying and pushing if you’re experiencing that with your child,” Olesen said.

If your child shows signs they’re ready, start by introducing a trainer-potty into your child’s environment. You can also use books or other materials to engage your child and begin talking about it.

“Having that child potty in the playroom. Have it be positive, fully clothed, sitting on it,” explains Dr. Olesen.

Avoid using punishment as a training tool. Instead, opt for patience, kindness, and respect. Olesen said it’s much easier and quicker to avoid engaging in a power struggle – especially over the toilet.

Potty training takes time and every child is different. Some kids have it down at two years old, others take a bit longer.

“Most little ones at two years old, just about a quarter of them can pee in the potty; and by 30 months, about 85 percent of them can pee in the potty. By age 3, almost all of them can pee in the potty,” Olesen said.

Boys typically take a little bit longer than girls, as do first-borns compared to younger siblings.

“Younger siblings love their older siblings and so they’re great trainers,” Olesen said.

If your child attends daycare or has a nanny, be sure to have a discussion with the caretaker. It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page and using the same method so the child doesn’t get confused.

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