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There Is No Perfect In Potty Training And That's Perfectly Fine

Let's face it ... People can be pretty darn judgmental sometimes. They wonder into our personal space with all manner of questions that's, let's face it, really none of their business. These are the same people that ask happy singles: "When are you going to settle down?" Or Couples dating: "When is the big day?" Or married couples: "When are you planning on starting a family?"

Alas, not even sweet, innocent children are immune from the Judgy Jeff's and Judy's of the world. Raise your hand if you've ever been asked this one: "When are you going to finally potty-train your Kid?"

But unlike singles, dating couples and married couples who seem to disregard these judgmental inquiries with nary an after thought, parents of toddlers seem to be more vulnerable to the idea that they are in danger of missing the deadline and must jump into action.

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I potty-trained my child well before the national average of 27 months" - SAID NO ONE EVER!

From the time your child is conceived they are already in a steady state of development. Thanks to the popularity of books like What to Expect When You're Expecting, and pregnancy tracker apps delivering week-by-week updates from embryo to fetus to delivery and beyond, it's almost as if when the baby pops out of the proverbial oven we say, "poof! It's done!" But the truth is the physiological development of the human body continues for approximately another twenty-two years. So while your infant has come a long way, baby's still got a long way to go.

Keeping in mind that children develop at different rates, typically healthy children are unable to obtain bowel and bladder control until 24-30 months. It's like a complicated game of telegraph between the body and brain. When the bladder is full it sends a signal to the part of the brain stem responsible for controlling urination. The ability to control bowel and bladder muscles comes with proper growth and develop. According to leading research in child development, there is very little control between 12 to 18 months, but at this age they can understand and value the achievements of a parent or older sibling successfully eliminating in the toilet. Understanding these signals take time, so be patient.

While the internet is full of testimonials of parents claiming to have successfully potty-trained children as young as 3 months, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics a child younger than 12 months of age has no control over bladder or bowel movements. Pediatricians who follow the guidelines set by the AAP will not consider medical intervention for any child four years old or younger who is not completely potty-trained. However, if your child is still soiling themselves after four years old during the daytime, or after six years old overnight, or is showing signs of chronic constipation (Encopresis) you should consult your child's doctor because these could be symptoms of larger health issues.

No matter what your child's age when you choose to potty-train, here are a few recommended tips on potty-training:

Safety First

-keep the potty chair on the floor, or if you are using a chair that goes over the toilet, make sure it has a foot rest

-never strap your child to the potty, or have your child sit for more than 5 minutes for danger of compressing blood vessels and the sciatic nerve.

Potty-training should never be traumatic or painful to the child

Enjoy The Journey

- relax with a book or special potty music

- discipline is incorporating a positive learning experience that ultimately teaches children behavior and self-control. In other words, praise is a positive way of disciplining a child

- use positive words

-make it a part of your child's daily routine

Raise The Roof

-celebrate the achievement!

-Define your own achievement!

-get your potty music on!


-make it a part of your child's daily routine

- keep some perspective. Despite how it might feel, potty-training is not your defining moment as a parent.

-Guidance is action taken by adults to help a child change his or her behavior to the acceptable and understanding why the change is necessary

You would never say to a toddler who falls while learning to walk "You had an accident!", or scorn them when they fall. So please keep in mind that during potty- training your child is learning to read the signs of their bodies. Be patient, kind and treat your child the way you would want to be treated by a family member if you were learning a new skill.

To my knowledge no child has ever started college still wearing diapers, nor kindergarten, and more than likely not pre-k either. As a matter of fact many preschools require that children are potty-trained before going into the three year old class. So rest assured your child is on par for their body's norm.

Until next time, remember child development is human development.

-Miss Toni

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