10 Steps to Prepare for Potty

There is much to be said for setting the stage well before you begin toilet training. Few children train themselves. They need to know what's expected of them! They need and deserve your help and guidance. A child who has become familiar with bathroom procedures and equipment is more likely to become trained quickly and easily than one who has not.

• Take your child into the bathroom with you. It's especially helpful if fathers and brothers set the example for boys, and mothers and sisters set the example for girls. Siblings are often pleased to act as role models. If your privacy is important to you, don't forget that there are neighborhood children who would probably be delighted to demonstrate. Today's experience with outside-the-home day-care often lets children "learn" from their peers and often speeds up their learning curve.

• Try to help your child recognize the sensations of "being wet," "wetting now," and "about to be wet." Encourage your child to talk about these sensations -- especially "about to be..." sensations -- without pressing your child to be toilet trained. Comment on signs you notice, such as the child' s pausing in play or walking as if he or she is uncomfortable after elimination. Use statements such as, "You are having a BM," rather than asking the general question, "What are you doing?" Asking your child to let you know when the diaper is wet or messy is another way of increasing awareness.

• Let your child go nude in appropriate settings to help the child " see" what he or she is doing, and to help make the mental connection between the words and what they refer to.

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