Potty training doesn't have to be difficult time

By By Mary P. Malone, Morgan County Extension Agent
A major milestone in the life of a toddler is the accomplishment of toilet training.
Every child is special. Just as each child learns to walk in his own time, each child becomes ready for toilet learning in his own time.
Peggy Carter of Hartselle says her son and daughter learned at different times, with her son "being easier and learning younger."
Most children will show signs of being physically, mentally, and emotionally ready between the ages of 24 and 38 months.
The course of toilet learning is not always smooth. Accidents and setbacks are common. Children often have accidents when they are involved in play.
Carter said her daughter often missed those signals.
"She was a very bright child and learned things quickly, but often was caught up in a play activity and didn't pay attention to the signals that she needed to go to the bathroom," she said.
When this happens, let the child help clean up when possible, and reassure then that they will do better next time.
As Carter said, "Be patient. Don't scold. That only makes things worse. Give lots of praise. Try not to compare other children's progress with your own. Given time, they will learn. As the years go you forget the accidents.
"I don't remember that time as being a bad time at all."
Sometimes children refuse to use the toilet and insist on diapers again after a period of wearing underpants.
This is because toddlers are tugged by strong emotions-the desire for independence and the fear of growing up.
It is OK to let a child take some time off from toilet learning.
Trying again later can lead to a feeling of real accomplishment for the child who takes some time off and then decides he is ready to try again.

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