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Potty Training and Your Preschooler

Tips for helping your preschooler master potty training.
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Potty Training Pitfalls

Despite your best efforts, potty training can have its setbacks, and it’s during these pitfalls that parents panic the most. Before you reach for the diaper bag, here are the most common challenges potty training preschoolers and parents face.

Bedwetting. It’s normal. Kids, especially younger kids, are deep sleepers, and they can easily sleep through the urge to go to the bathroom. So use nighttime pull-ups until they are fully potty trained, and don't panic if it takes until they are 4 or even 5 to make it through the night.

Accidents will happen. Just anticipate that accidents are part of the process -- it’s a given. If your child has an accident, tell her it’s OK and ask her to help you clean up -- a nonpunishing way for her to understand what’s happened, Wolraich suggests.

Regression. For kids who have a major life event -- her family moves, a new baby comes into the house, or her parents separate -- potty training regression can happen, Wolraich notes. In these situations, they might have lost the attention of their parents, so regression helps put them back in the spotlight. Or, the child’s stress is too overwhelming and the skills she’s mastered in the bathroom take a back seat. So as a parent, you need to be patient and continue working with your child on potty training -- it’s that simple.

From Diaper to Potty Trained

The process of potty training can take anywhere from a few days and weeks, or a few months or longer. Although the time it takes a child to master toilet training skills and the age at which it happens varies, it’s the process that is important.

“It’s going to go from a few successes to a period of accidents then more consistent success and then finally to the point of accomplishment,” Wolraich says. “Relax and enjoy your child’s success and be there to help enable their development.”

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Reviewed on July 02, 2012
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