Developmentally speaking, there are two important things to remember about potty training children. First, girls typically reach developmental milestones more quickly than boys and thus potty train earlier than boys do. Second, potty training depends upon a child’s ability to control bladder and bowel functions. In most children, awareness of these functions does not occur until around the age of 18 months or later.
Potty training is a major rite of passage; it signifies the child’s growth into the active toddler years. Children around this age begin to experience a sense of individuality and independence. They have a natural desire to learn to do things the “big girl” or “big boy” way. Their desire to emulate their parents drives their desire to succeed and naturally works in your favor. There is no correct age for potty training. Potty training depends on developmental readiness, which is different for each individual child.
In our home, we always make potty time fun. We familiarized our children with the idea by reading to them about potty training, long before they reached the age of “passage”. We provided our children with a potty they could access by themselves and dressed them in “easy access” clothing. There is nothing wrong with letting a child run around the house naked for a while if it helps with potty training! In our house we applaud (yes, we clap) and say, “Yay! Mommy went potty!” and then flush and say goodbye. This, as strange as it may sound, sets a friendly, fun, comfortable environment for potty time and encourages your child to get in on the fun. Be patient. Always keep it positive. Set a “No Pressure” rule. Our motto is “Accidents Happen!” Encourage Dad to participate in potty training boys and keep the encouragement coming!