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Our Blog: April 29th, 2013

Preventing Potty Training Pitfalls

Toddler Potty Training ProblemsDon’t dread potty training – celebrate it! Potty training is actually the signature achievement of your toddler’s development. But it’s not simple – it’s a complicated process of mastering physical, emotional, and cognitive milestones. I’ve accumulated some surefire strategies to help along the way, from my experience as a mom (I changed diapers – nonstop – for 12 years), and from thousands of readers and clients.

Here are my top tips for toilet training:

Take the Pressure Off – Children vary tremendously in their potty learning timetables and it has no bearing whatsoever on their smarts or social skills. Toddlers love to say “no” as they are notoriously oppositional. Letting your child take the lead will help her feel more in charge of her body ­– and her accomplishment – when she succeeds.

No Shame Games – Don’t scold, belittle, tease, or punish. Parenting a toddler is bound to bring out occasional frustration. Your positive approach will make a difference.

Prevent Constipation – Constipation can interfere with the entire potty learning process. Pump up the fruits and veggies, set regular potty habits, and talk with your pediatrician to prevent this common potty problem.

Don’t Stress about Nighttime Wetness – Nighttime dryness is all about your child’s anatomical development, and there’s not much you can do to push this along. About 15% of kindergarteners are still wet at night. Talk to your pediatrician to make sure nothing else is going on, but nighttime wetness usually fixes itself with a bit of patience and encouragement.

Potty Personalities Matter – Some kiddos love a challenge and respond well to small rewards. Others crumble under pressure and run back to their diapered ways if you push too hard. Follow your child’s lead, knowing that what worked for your nephew might not work for your child. Every child’s personality is different!

Now that I’ve finally emptied that last box of diapers, I’ve put everything I’ve learned into my new e-book, Let’s Get This Potty Started! The BabyShrink’s Guide to Potty Training Your Toddler. It’s a grab-and-go guide chock full of even more potty training tips, scientifically based and road-tested by yours truly.

What potty tips work in your family?

About the Author

Dr. Heather Wittenberg

Dr. Wittenberg is a psychologist specializing in the development of babies, toddlers, preschoolers — and parents. She offers no-hype, practical parenting advice on her blog BabyShrink — rooted in science, and road tested in her own home as the mother of four young children. She has helped thousands of parents over the years and knows that the most common problems with young children — sleep, feeding, potty training and behavior — can be the most difficult ones to solve.

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