Read an Excerpt
Your child hits a certain magical age and suddenly visions start filling your head: You see yourself taking a short road trip without a diaper bag. You look in the closet and there seems to be two cubic feet of extra space (no diapers!). Your child suddenly looks several pounds slimmer (no diapers!). Your wallet is fatter (no diapers!).
Yes, all those wonderful things will happen, but potty training won’t occur on a particular magical date or at a certain magical age. It won't happen overnight. It may not even take place all in one year. But it will-eventually-happen.
How and when potty training happens has become a major debate among medical professionals and parents, spurred on in part by the introduction of extra-large diapers. There is the "wait until the child is ready" school versus the more extreme "train 'em by the time they're two" school.
Parents can, to some extent, control how potty training happens, but not when. Get used to that idea right now. Your child is in charge of the when. Most children begin to show signs of readiness between twenty and thirty months of age. Wait for those signs. You'll have to use all of your willpower to control your urge to hurry your child up, but there are excellent reasons not to rush. Consider this: Just as the person on his deathbed rarely says "I wish I'd spent more time at the office," few parents with potty trained children look back and wish they’d started sooner. Most say, "We should have worried less and started later," or "I wish we'd been more relaxed about potty training." They've learned from experience that starting their child earlier doesn't mean he'll finish sooner. They've learned that a relaxed approach to teaching a child how to use the potty is best.
Relax. It's a word that comes up often when experts talk about successful potty training, and it's a word that appears repeatedly in this book. Parents, be relaxed. Take a relaxed approach to teaching. Don't worry. Being relaxed is one of the surefire things you can do to increase your child's odds of a stress-free transition from diapers to the potty. If you only take one thing away with you after reading this book, we hope it's the R word. But how, exactly, do you relax?
In order to do so, you need to know and understand the following:
* how a child's body and mind work
* how to recognize signs of readiness
* how to talk effectively about potty training with your child
* how to choose a training option that’s best for your family
* when and how to start
* what problems and setbacks to expect
* how your own potty training past colors how you feel about the task at hand
To give parents what they need to relax, the PARENTING Guide to Potty Training is divided into five parts.
Get Ready Review your own attitudes about potty training and think about what kind of teacher you will be; learn how your child's body works and how to recognize when he's ready to use the potty.
Get Set Prepare for the real thing. Comparison shop for potties, stock up on supplies and easy-on and easy-off clothing. Make sure you and your caregiver or daycare provider agree on potty training techniques.
Go! A three-step plan (telling, showing, trying) that will get you and your child started; the eight stages of potty practice; plus, how to praise, the pros and cons of rewards, and more.
Keep Going Dealing with setbacks and challenges, surviving the public rest room, making the transition to night dryness, and how to avoid the most common potty training mistakes.
I Can Do It! A children's story that gives kids the skills necessary to be a potty training success.
Teaching (learning) should always precede training (doing). That's why half of this book is about preparing yourself and your child for the potty. As my daughter learned in a third-grade lesson about study habits, PPPPP. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. It's no more true and important than during this first parent-child collaboration called potty training. Learn all you can about yourself and your child before you begin, follow her cues and your Prior Planning will Produce Peak Performance. If you have faith in yourself and your child, before you know it your "dream" of no more diapers will come true.
Anne Krueger with the Editors of PARENTING