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Toilet-training can be a very daunting task for most parents. This can feel especially true when in the midst of a fifteen-minute argument with a toddler about whether shoes belong on hands or feet. But you can succeed!
Two key beginning pointers: 1. WAIT until both you and your child are ready to start the toilet-training journey. 2. It’s okay to stop the toilet-training process and try again later.
The average age for toilet training in the U.S. is between 24- 36 months of age. Bowel control is typically achieved prior to bladder control, and night time bladder control does not usually occur until closer to 5-7 years of age.
The approach to toilet training has changed drastically over the past 100 years alone, and there are even larger variances between cultures present today, which is why you have likely encountered such a wide range of techniques, advice, and philosophies. Generally, it’s best to do what works for you and your child. If you want to pick a few days or a week over the holidays while at home to tackle the toilet-training ‘bootcamp’, that’s okay, but if you want to approach it in a more relaxed timeframe, that’s fine, too. You know your own patience level, stress tolerance, and toddler’s personality a lot better than anyone else giving you advice.
A number of factors can determine if your child is ready for the toilet-training process. Physiologically, they must have control over muscles that control the bladder and bowels –typically by the age of 18 months. Developmentally, they must be able to communicate both receptively and expressively about the need to use the toilet, and they must also have the motor skills necessary to sit on the toilet as well as be able to attempt to dress and undress. Behaviorally, they must also have the desire to please with independence, have interest in toilet training, and be able to imitate behaviors.
A good resource for toilet-training advice can be found at healthychildren.org. You will find a lot of good advice that can be catered to your child and the problems that arrive during the toilet training process. But the best resource is at your pediatrician’s office. We can offer specific pointers and strategies that are catered to our understanding of the individual needs of your child.