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The Early Years: Struggle-free potty training is worth the wait

Having a baby is not cheap. Clothes, car seats, strollers, swings, cribs, toys, formula, and baby food, all add up. And let's not forget all the diapers! Maybe it is due to these expenses that we, as parents, push to get our kids out of diapers. Yet, way too often we are rushing the process.

Usually, between the ages of two and three, children start to become interested in using the toilet. Signs to look for include having regular bowel movements, curiosity about what happens in the bathroom, attempting to dress themselves, and a dislike of wearing diapers, especially when they are wet or dirty.

Parents and grandparents can help their children in this potty training process by answering their questions, purchasing a potty chair and encouraging them to use it, and of course,

letting them choose some underwear they will want to wear and keep dry!

When to potty train your child can be a touchy subject. As parents we get pressure from others who ask if our kids are trained yet. Yet if we watch our children for signs of being ready and follow their lead, this process will be much easier.

As a new parent, I was very excited to get my daughter trained. Especially since I was expecting child number two. I chose a week during which few activities were planned and decided to train her. What a mistake! Every time I asked her to try to use the bathroom, it was a power struggle. She was getting frustrated and so was I. So after a few hard days, I decided to quit pushing her and pretty much dropped the subject. I would help her when she wanted to, but I didn't push it. About a month later, she woke up one day and said "all done with diapers." And she was. When we let our kids choose when they are ready for this step, we take the power struggle out of the process.

Having your child potty trained is one of the first steps toward independence. Let your child choose when he or she is ready to take that step. It is our job to encourage and praise their efforts, not belittle or get angry as they work toward this goal. They will eventually be potty trained, so relax and don't let others push you or your child to do something for which he or she is not developmentally ready.