When it comes to potty training, timing is everything. Just ask mother of two, Leslie Snelgrove. “My oldest son Charlie started showing signs around 18 months,” says Snelgrove. “He wanted to copy us. But then he regressed and stopped, so we didn’t push it.”
Snelgrove and her husband Andy decided to wait until Charlie was a little older to try again. “He started preschool at two-and-a-half years old and that’s when we tried again,” says Snelgrove. “The other kids in his class were also going through potty training so it helped to reinforce the behavior.”
Eventually Charlie got to the point where he was telling his parents when he needed to go. “Once he was wearing underwear, he was good about it. He never wanted to have any accidents,” says Snelgrove.
The Snelgroves also found that a little positive reinforcement was an effective motivator. “We bribed Charlie with treats,“ adds Snelgrove. “We gave him M&Ms® after he would potty. After a few weeks we stopped rewarding him since he had it down.”
Being a resourceful parent, Snelgrove also used the promise of watching a movie on her smartphone as a reward for using the potty. In just a couple of weeks, Charlie was a regular potty user. “I know some people train their children over a weekend but Charlie took a little longer,” says Snelgrove. “He thought flushing was really fun. If I ever flushed the toilet for him, he would get upset and he’d have to do it again.”
Sometimes the arrival of a younger sibling can cause the older child to regress back to wanting to wear diapers all the time. “The arrival of his little brother Sam didn’t seem to affect him at all,” adds Snelgrove. “Probably because he was potty trained for some time before the baby was born.”
Not sure if your little one is ready for potty training?
Pediatric specialists have identified several “emotional prime times” that affect children’s likelihood to leave diapers behind.
For these tips and more see our 2017 Memorial Hermann’s Parent Survival Guide.
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