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Health & Parenting

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Toilet Training - What Is Normal

Delays in toilet training

It is normal for your child to be doing well with toilet training and to suddenly begin having problems. For example, he or she may try to "hold it" for long periods or want to wear diapers again. This does not mean your efforts have failed. But it does mean that you need to ease up on the training for a little while.

Stress in the home can interfere with a child's toilet training. For example, toilet-training setbacks can be related to the arrival of a new baby, a move, a change in preschool or child care, family conflict, or illness or death of a close family member.

A child's toilet habits may also be affected if he or she gets an illness, especially one that has a long recovery time.

Sometimes your child will not cooperate-for no reason that you can figure out.

Resist pressure from friends or family to toilet train your child too early. Parents often feel that their child should be trained by a specific age or to meet a deadline, such as for a requirement to enroll in a particular day care. You and your child are less likely to become frustrated and more likely to have a good experience with toilet training if it is not forced. Staying positive and relaxed is an important part of training your child.

Negative reactions typically do not help. Children need frequent praise throughout the entire process of toilet training.

Measuring success

You will know your child is toilet-trained when he or she regularly anticipates the need to go to the bathroom and with little help is able to climb onto and use the type of toilet (potty) camera.gif that you provide. This process takes time, from weeks to months. Each child is different. But most children are successfully trained around age 3 or shortly thereafter (girls are typically trained a few months earlier than boys). Your child may still need help now and then, such as with wiping, until age 4 or 5. He or she may also need help and reassurance when using a toilet in an unfamiliar bathroom, such as in a public restroom, until about age 5 or 6.

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