Potty training is all about natural timing. As with many trials in life, there is a critical point at which natural things transition into a higher stage of development. This occurrence is typically accompanied by outward and rather quite apparent indications that the living thing is preparing for, or undergoing, a drastic change. When it comes to parenting and the potty training process, it is crucial to regularly analyze children’s behavior to discover these natural indications that they are ready for this important stage in their development.
When is your Child Ready?
There are three major characteristics that are indicative of a child being primed for potty training: physical, cognitive, and emotional.
While all three are inter-connected and play equal roles in the development of children, each characteristic is distinct in the function it serves for the child. For instance, the main physical characteristic indicating a naturally critical time to train occurs when the child verbally expresses that they are aware of the bodily sensations of needing to urinate or defecate. Here the physical sensation is being interpreted by the child of what is next to come. Because of their awareness of this physical manifestation, parents can then infer that the child has understood a signal from their body, which is the cognitive process, and the second indicative characteristic. Here the key is listening and paying attention to the child’s verbal cues or behaviors that show they are aware of the need to go, such as doing a “pee dance”, which indicates they are trying to keep from wetting themselves ( an obvious understanding of what the sensation means). A pee dance can be interpreted by parents as an emotional response to both the physical sensation and the child’s cognitive awareness of what it means, comprising the final characteristic. The awareness of these inter-related yet distinct characteristics is a comprehensive indication that the child is primed for the transition from diapers to the toilet.
Since what has been spoken of is a natural process constrained by physical laws and the constant of time, the way these constraints act on individuals varies incredibly; provided that each individual is uniquely different. Yet, one must acknowledge there is an element of nurturing that plays a significant factor in the development of children, and thus siblings closer in age will be more prone to follow similar patterns than those of older or younger siblings, and other children. The process can take anywhere from 3-12 months from the beginning of training until the child is fully independent. Seeing as there are many steps to learn when going to the bathroom that most adults take for granted, making sure children have a solid understanding of the bathroom process is imperative.
To better prepare and ease one’s child into these important steps, one can start by familiarizing their child with the bathroom, for instance, by beginning to change them in there. Providing them with the vocabulary to communicate these needs and the providing loose fitting clothing are also very important. Finally, establishing these steps into a routine solidifies a child’s development in the potty training process.
When the going gets tough
Patience is a virtue. Children will be very curious about why this routine is so important when the actual substance is flushed away. It may take some time and serious dedication to firmly reinforce the potty training essentials. Also, since it will be an entirely new experience for the child they may feel uncomfortable with the postures required to execute a clean bathroom visit; there will be accidents. Furthermore, ensuring a child always eats properly (which may be difficult) can help ease and motivate a positive transition. These trials and tribulations are normal and necessary for the child to fully learn how to go to the bathroom as a socialized being. If a parent is seriously concerned about any issue or occurrence then there are always healthcare professionals available to help.