Too many times I have heard parents forcing their child to go to the potty, dragging them there and holding them on…needless to say, those children are often still in diapers at age three. What works best for me is to know my child, watch for cues they are about to, are going, or have gone, model toilet skills for them, and be patient and consistent. My youngest is 22 months and he pees and poops on the toilet every day. He never poops in his pull-up anymore and has not for more than a month, although we have had an accident or two on the floor! He still wets several times a day, but also lets me know sometimes before and sometimes right after he goes. He doesn’t speak very well, but gets his message across with gestures and tone of voice.
Please help your Au Pair or other childcare provider to understand that potty training will happen, but it takes a lot of patience.
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Many parents worry if their child hasn’t taken to the potty by 2, but pediatricians stress that this is one milestone that preschoolers will reach when they’re good and ready – and as late as age 4 can be totally normal. Fighting over potty training can be a big source of stress, and it won’t necessarily get you there any quicker.
“It’s fine to introduce the idea at age 2 with videos and books, but avoid a situation where you’re chasing your kid around asking every two minutes, ‘Do you want to go to the bathroom? Do you want to go to the bathroom? Do you want to go to the bathroom?'” says pediatrician Alanna Levine. “When you do that, if your child does go, it’s not because she realized herself that she needed to – it’s just that you guessed right.”
If you’re up against a deadline, such as starting a preschool that requires kids to be potty-trained, Levine favors the reward system. “For example, keep a star chart, and after your child earns ten stars or stickers, she can go to the store and pick out a small toy or go out for a date with Mom or Dad,” she says. “A little incentive goes a long way.”