It's every parent's dream: no more diapers. But when it comes to parenting, nothing can be more stressful than teaching your child to use the toilet. There are a lot of obstacles that can stand in your way, but all hope is not lost. Tricia O'Brien, Features Editor of American Baby Magazine, has some tips to carry you through this stressful time.
Most children are ready to start toilet training between 2 and 3 years old. But some children don't show interest until they're a little older, and 80% of kids experience setbacks.
So how do you know if your child is ready to be toilet trained? Tricia says there are some key things to look out for. "Maybe she starts asking about the potty, or she keeps her diaper dry for two or more hours during the day." These are important signs to be aware of that will let you know know if your child really wants to be toilet trained, or if they still need a little more time.
However, if you're ready for toilet training and your child isn't, there are some things that can help the process along. "Buy her a doll that helps her to learn that process, or you can start reading her some books," says O'Brien.
Another obstacle is location. Some children will feel comfortable using the bathroom at home, but don't want anything to do with public restrooms. "The toilet seats are different wherever you go," says O'Brien. "One of the things that really scares kids are those automatic sensors that just flush." Child may also be afraid of larger toilet seats that are often found in public restrooms. To offset this, try carrying your child's training seat with you. You can also slowly introduce them to other bathrooms, such as the one at Grandma's house.
Even if you child is using the toilet consistently during daylight hours, nighttime can be a different story. Overnight accidents are very common. "Their bladders are really small, and they're really sound sleepers," says O'Brien. It may be best to use a diaper at night when accidents are prone to happen, but stick with your son or daughter's "big boy" or "big girl" underwear during the day.
For more information on toilet training, as well as other parenting tips, click here.
By Erin Petrun
Copyright 2007 CBS. All rights reserved.