Real-life solutions to your most urgent toilet-training problems
"Emilie peed and pooed on the potty last weekend!" her mom exclaimed at daycare Monday morning. "That's great!" I replied, enthusiastic about their progress. But I couldn't help feeling a little concerned too. My daughter, Bronwyn, who was not quite two at the time, had shown interest in the potty for only one thing: As a place to have books read to her while she enjoyed the freedom of being naked from the waist down. Bronwyn's little friend was taking to toilet training — why wasn't she?
In retrospect, the answer is obvious: Regardless of my ambitions for Bronwyn, using the potty was low on her personal list of Things to Do Today.
"Toilet training is a very important milestone for the parents, and it's a very not important milestone for the child," explains Fabian Gorodzinsky, a London, Ont., paediatrician with 25 years' experience, and author of the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) statement on toilet learning. For maximum success and minimum frustration for both parent and child, the CPS recommends holding off until your little one demonstrates he's ready and willing. If he stays dry for several hours between diaper changes, and can tell you when he's just urinated or had a bowel movement, those are your signs to introduce the potty.
Of course, training doesn't happen overnight. Sometimes early successes belie difficulties weeks or months down the road. And sometimes the process can become downright traumatic for everyone involved. Questions about potty training are among the most common on Todaysparent.com — and for those of you who've asked, help is at hand. We consulted a panel of early childhood specialists from across the country and distilled their best tips into a quick Q & A format. Read on for their answers to your toileting troubles.