Question: At what age is the correct time to potty train? My daughter will be 2 on 10-10-07 and she is starting to notice that she has a pee-pee (as she says) and I am currently 7 months pregnant with yet another girl. Everyone tells me to try to potty train her now since she has interest in it but when I put her on her potty, she is scared to death for some odd reason. She will play with it but once her diaper is off, she cries. I don't know if it would be a good idea to wait until our next daughter is born, while I am off of work for those six weeks or should I enforce it now? Please help. I live across the US from my family and I work with only guys, so I don't really have anyone to give me advice or tips. Any advice that you may give me would be a great help. Thank you
Answer: Dear Brandi:
I would not enforce potty training I would however start acquainting her with potty training. The first thing to do is go to the book store and find a children's story about going to the potty. There are some great books out there.
If she is scared of the potty chair let her play with it for awhile so she becomes familiar with it. Then move it near the adult toilet and set there with her when she does get on it. It is not imperative to potty train a child at the age of two. Sometimes children are not ready even if they do show an interest.
You are expecting another child and often this is not the time to potty train as the birth of a new sibling is stressful for an older child. They experience a shift in their role in the family from only child to the oldest child. The do notice this shift in the form of a change of attention and expectations from the parents. Often parents become more demanding of the older sibling as if they suddenly grew up overnight and are no longer their baby.
Sometimes children will cling to their diapers and being baby like as a way of expressing their anxiety over a new baby coming into the family. While this is not something you can avoid, providing much understanding and support is important. Again, look for children's story books which discuss the arrival of a new baby. Involve your daughter in the care and planning of the new baby. This lessens the stress and keeps you both engaged.
When you do start potty training make sure life is not all that stressful. The good news is children can be potty trained in only a few days if you can give your full attention to taking her to the bathroom every few hours for a couple of days (3 at least) and praising her when she goes to the bathroom.
M Kay Keller
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Comment: Thank you. You are the first of many people that I have asked to actually reply. It is good to know that there are real people willing to help others in need. Again thank you.