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Flushing Out the Truth

by Eddie Rayner

Potty training your little one can be quite the task and with schools starting you may feel like you are on a tight timeline. Remember to breathe parents! Here are some tips on making this process easier for you and your little one.

“Potty training is a combination of cerebellar function,” Devika Mankani, a certified psychologist at The Hundred Wellness Centre, says, “which is a neurological process, and behavioural training or conditioning. I usually recommend introducing ‘baby potty’ around 15 to 18 months; encouraging children to sit on the potty at regular intervals.”

She adds: “One of the keys to potty training is to keep it fun and simple. There will be days where everything goes to plan and there will be days when nothing goes to plan. Stress can affect the neurological resources available to a child to develop the skill of potty training. Children can get stressed by many external events and by illnesses. However, it is parental stress that usually needs to be addressed. When parents expectations are not met this can trigger a whole cascade of stressful emotions, which then get passed on to children. This happens with verbal, but mostly nonverbal, communication that parents may not even be aware of.”

The recommended potty training age is when a child is around 15 to 18 months old.

Devika Mankani

Devika’s top four tips for parents are:

  • Prime the process before you begin by showing excitement and involvement when buying the potty, underwear, potty training books, etc.
  • Toddlers love to mirror adults, so show them how to do the very thing you expect of them.
  • Make it easy by choosing the right clothes and an easy place to access the potty.
  • The most important thing is to give specific praise for effort.

Devika Mankani is a certified psychologist at The Hundred Wellness Centre and occasionally offers her services at Sunmarke School.

Look for the Signs

Theresa O’Brien, an Early Year’s teacher at Children’s Oasis Nursery, also chimes in on the topic, saying, “Children usually give a few signs that they’re ready for potty training, including having a dry nappy for a few nights or after naps and bringing attention to the fact they have a wet or dirty nappy by pulling at it. Don’t forget that by trying to potty train a child before they are ready and able will only cause lots of parent-child stress and anxiety. Again, it needs to be said that children aren’t typically ready to potty train until at least 18 months to two years of age.

“I’ve heard it said many times that potty training boys is harder than training girls,” she continues. “While there may be a few differences between the sexes with potty training, the concept is the same. It’s all about knowing your child and if they’re ready for this stage of learning. I have three children – a son and two daughters – and my son was actually ready and toilet trained at a much earlier age than both my girls. With my children, before the serious training began, I used to leave the potty around so that they could have little practice sits on it. Also, I let them choose their new big girl/boy new underwear, which made the prospect of toilet training an exciting event! And remember to offer praise each time your child sits on the potty … whether they perform or not.”

Theresa O’Brien is an Early Year’s teacher at Children’s Oasis Nursery and has been an educator for over 30 years. She is also mother to three grown children.