Timeout with Nanny Robina: Readiness For Toilet Training

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My toddler shows no signs of wanting to potty train, yet at time she can go all night without voiding. She will also tell me when she voids or has stools but is hesitant to have her diaper changed even then. Should I initiate potty training?


I believe your daughter is starting to show signs that she is getting ready to potty train, but as you pointed out, she shows no signs of wanting to. The process of potty training is a step-by-step change that your toddler will show you.

This week she is showing that she is aware. In weeks to come she may show other signs such as needing privacy to go poop, having a nearly dry diaper over a three-hour interval and being able to undress herself and follow instructions. She must show most of these signs before you start training. As much as we would like to speed up this process, you must wait and do it on her terms. Should you decide to rush things along, it may lead to devastating consequences, such as developing a fear of the toilet.

Potty training, to some degree, is out of your control. Dry diapers will soon be here. No matter how exciting the Thomas the Tank Engine underwear is, there’s no forcing the next step! These cases need to be approached with patience, gentleness and perseverance.

I once was potty training a three and-a-half year old girl in my care. After many chats and stories about going potty, I finally scooped her up one day and sat her on the toilet. Then I sat on a foot stool directly in front of her and introduced her to the long, beaded necklace I was wearing. She sat and played with it for quite some time, not really noticing what I had done. Did she pee? No, but sitting on the toilet was no longer foreign to our routine. Over time, she trained. She just took a little longer than most.

Published in August 2010

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