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Children go through many stages. Some stages are more complicated than others. As parents and caregivers, it is not always easy to juggle all the events which occur. Unfortunately, there is no miracle method. Each child is unique and develops in his own way. However, every problem has a solution. We must find the intervention which works for us and the child through trial and error.
Potty training is a stressful stage for many people. It is a stage full of questions and worry: "When should I begin potty training? How do I know if the child is ready? Why does my child refuse to use the potty?" Many people ask themselves these questions and so many others, and this is normal! We all want the best for our child or the children we care for. We all want to be as helpful for children at this stage. For this reason, here are a few things to reflect on as well as suggestions of different interventions which may help make this period smoother.
A little theory...
First of all, you may have noticed that the title of this article is "The potty training stage" and not "Potty training", the title normally used to discuss the subject. In my opinion, this wording brings a whole new dimension to this developmental stage. When you think about it, this stage is a normal part of any child's development, a stage he must succeed, just like walking. All children are potty trained sooner or later, whether we teach them or not. Out of curiosity, have you ever seen an elementary school student wearing a diaper (I am not including children with special needs, of course)? Personally, I have never seen a kindergartener who needed a diaper. It is important to keep in mind that children evolve at their own pace, yet they all succeed.
The potty training stage is sometimes difficult and this is mostly due to outside pressures. Society's values have changed and it is not rare to see generational conflicts. Educational methods have changed drastically, they are much less rigorous. We must believe in our own capacities and interventions without succumbing to the comments of the people who surround us. Do not hesitate to encourage parents and invite them to trust themselves. One of the most beneficial methods is to wait until a child decides he is ready for this stage on his own. Keep in mind that the average age for a child to be potty trained is between 2 and 4 years old. This differs greatly from popular belief.
I do not feel that we should be obligated to potty train a child. Instead, go with the flow, and encourage him as soon as he demonstrates he is ready. A child must be ready psychologically and physically. A child's self-esteem can be affected if potty training is begun too early. He will remember the failure and feel unable to satisfy the demands of the people who are close to him.
We must remember that regression is possible during stressful moments such as moving, the arrival of a new sibling, a change in daycares... If this occurs, we must reassure the child and have him verbalize his worry. Do not speak of possible accidents. Instead, boost his self-esteem by encouraging him and reminding him of his successes.
The practical side...
(Open Potty training identification labels)
In your role play area, offer material which is related to the potty training stage: a potty, diapers, dolls, stuffed animals, wash cloths...
Throughout this stage, children must learn to become more autonomous. They should be able to dress themselves with little or no help. To help them, offer dolls with clothing items which have buttons and zippers.
As a group project, invite children to help you decorate the bathroom. They can create a room they will feel comfortable in.
Trust yourself and the child! Together, you will brilliantly succeed this stage!
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