|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Toilet-Training Readiness

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: I am a nanny for two-and-a-fifth-year-old twin boys who are exceptionally fast learners mentally and physically. The exception may be that they are not yet in toilet training. My thinking is that each child will express some interest in this area at which time we should begin his training. Others want to expedite this process and start forcing the training before the child shows any interest. Please give us the advice about this subject.

A: This scenario comes up over and over again. I personally agree with your philosophy. I don't think we can "force" the issue and change Mother Nature. The twins are within the right age range to begin toilet training. But children who are rapid learners or are more intelligent don't necessarily do it earlier. We can help steer them in that direction, but their internal clocks can't be reset. When the twins are ready, this will happen as it normally does for all otherwise healthy children. It may be bladder control before bowel control, vise versa, or even simultaneously. Toileting books in the library, talking about it in a positive light, and proper role-modeling can all help.

These are some of this signs that your child may be ready for toilet training: understanding the words used with toileting, understanding how to use the potty and even wanting to sit on it, asking to be changed frequently, and trying to hold it some. When they ask to be changed, don't necessarily drop everything. Tell them you'll do it as soon as you can. The sensation of a dirty or wet diaper can reinforce independent toileting. They may have dry diapers for longer periods and may go behind the furniture for privacy.

Make it a pleasant experience, not one they'll want to avoid. As they show positive signs and efforts, be sure to encourage and praise repeatedly. Give rewards for success and never punish or reprimand. Let them believe they are in control. Toileting happens before you know it, usually sooner rather than later.

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks