Getting Started on the Potty

Is It Official?

The key to successful toilet training is patience. According to Dr. Wolraich, children are toilet trained when they consistently, of their own volition, ask to use the toilet. The time it takes to complete the process varies enormously, though Dr. Escolar says parents may continue to guide their children for two to three months.

Even then, occasional accidents may happen and some children may regress and stop using the toilet. Your child will likely have her share of accidents, especially at night. Bed-wetting, or enuresis, is normal and affects about 40 percent of all children under age 3. Until this age, a child's bladder may not be fully developed. Your child also may be unable to recognize the urge to go, wake up, and use the toilet.

Children under stress may have difficulty mastering new skills and rely on the old way of doing things. If a child does regress, Dr. Wolraich recommends that parents not get overly concerned. Try to pinpoint the cause of your child's anxiety, and take steps to eliminate the stress. Don't punish your child, Dr. Wolraich suggests, just start working with him again.

Additional reporting by Winifred Yu

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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