Two simple words, that, when said to a parent of a child between the ages of two and four, can conjure up feelings of fear and dread. Yet for many children, potty training can be an experience that is easy and without struggle. Why then, are there so many differences between the way toddlers and young children potty train? A lot of is has to do with when the child is trained, methods used to train the child, and whether or not the child is a male or a female. The underlying fact about potty training is that it takes time, understanding and patience.
The first thing that you have to decide, or rather that has to be decided, is whether the child is ready to toilet train. There is no set again at which toilet training should begin. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child under the age of 12 months (one year) is simply too young to potty train because they have no bladder or bowel control and little control for the six months after (American Academy of Pediatrics 1). Therefore, starting before the age of 18 months will not only frustrate both the parents and the child, but actually slow the progress of the toilet training because of fears and frustration that result in the obvious failure (Bainer et al 80). .
So, how does a parent decide when a child is ready? One of the first signs of readiness in when a child indicates awareness that he is wet of has had a bowel movement. Paper diapers and "pull-ups" do such a good job of keeping a child dry that he might be unaware that there is a movement of some sort in the diaper. Therefore, when beginning toilet training, you may have to remove the diaper and either put cloth on or allow the child to be without any dressing so that he may be able to identify that he is voiding (Bainer et al 80). Only after the child knows what wetness feels like will he be able to identify the body signals that precede it.