PARENTS

Potty Training This Summer? Here's What To Keep In Mind

It doesn't have to be so hard.

07/24/2017 15:53 EDT | Updated 07/24/2017 15:53 EDT

Summer is a popular time for parents to tackle potty training. It's sure easier than in the winter when kids are wearing layers of clothing. Plus, parents have more time, and who cares if they have an accident on the lawn?

Parents also feel pressure about the need to get their child trained before the school year ahead, fearing their kid won't be ready for the new classroom requirements of independent toileting. Often our first child is easy to train, so we can't remember what we did so well when it comes to training our second child, who might be completely uninterested in the toilet.

How can we appeal to all kinds of kids? Here are some suggestions:

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1. Don't panic


We anguish over potty training fearing we are failing at a most basic parenting task. When we feel pressure to train our kids, we pass that pressure on to them. Some children don't mind being given a little urging, but for others, our insistence invites them to push back and refuse.

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2. Pick the right approach


Some children want to prove they can handle potty training all on their own, so the more you keep your distance and allow them to take initiative on their own and in their own timing, the better. Other children prefer to "perform" for you and they want you to come to the washroom, sit and read with them, and make it a social time. Pick the right approach for your kid.

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3. Keep them entertained


Some children's natures are calm while others are constantly on the move. Those high energy, need-to-move kids are likely going to find sitting on the potty an activity that is slow and boring. Expect these children to train a little later, and help them pass the time of sitting on the potty by offering it as a special game time. It's more exciting to sit still if you are playing eye spy or, dare I say, playing a game on the iPad. Just don't let them drop it!

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4. Remember: each child is different


If your child is someone who likes rules and doing things well, then potty training might be a breeze. Or, they might wait and wait and wait, and then train in one day when they have the whole sequence figured out perfectly from watching and observing.

Kids with a more easy-going attitude might bumble along happily, being compliant and doing whatever it is you ask of them. They start early, have many mistakes and seemingly don't care to progress, but they will go potty when you request it.

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5. Decide whether or not acknowledgements are right for your child


I do not believe in either punishments or rewards, which are two sides of the same coin. There is no need to motivate children by giving them a reward for using the potty. Some kids sense this as being controlling and manipulative, and so they refuse anyways no matter how much they want the prize.

The reality is that kids want to learn to manage their bodies and use the toilet in the same way they want to learn to walk and talk.

The reality is that kids want to learn to manage their bodies and use the toilet in the same way they want to learn to walk and talk. It's socialization to be like everyone else. That said, some children do want recognition for their accomplishments. You can give them a high five or have them call grandma to brag. They can even put their own sticker on their sticker chart if they feel proud of themselves.

However, some kids see this kind of excitement as drawing too much attention to something that is private, and they don't want their accomplishment noticed. If flying under the radar is more comfortable for your child, keep it on the down low for them.

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