Answers to Common Potty Training Questions

When it comes to potty training, we've got lots of questions. Just check out the recent activity on a few of our groups: Potty Training Moms Support Group, Potty Training Just for Boys, and Potty Training Little Girls (you'll need to apply to them first).

Those of us in the thick of it know at least one thing: Every kid is different and there often isn't any easy answer, which means lots of patience (and extra laundry).


You can get some great advice on the topic in the answers section, such as this post from ConnorsMom1204. But we also wanted to let a professional weigh in. Here's potty training expert Dr. Mark Wolraich, author of the American Academy of Pediatric's Guide to Toilet Training, on some of your most common quandaries:

What are the signs my child is ready to start?

When he senses he needs to or is in the process of urinating or making a bowel movement. Also when they express an interest. Providing a potty chair and letting him watch you is one way.

Any good books we should pick up to help introduce the idea?

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi, Lift the Lid, Use the Potty, by Annie Ingle, and P.J. and Puppy, by Cathryn Falwell.

Has any one method proved the most successful?

No. Children sometimes become trained regardless of what their parents do. It can take weeks or months. The important thing is to keep it positive. Praise children for what they achieve--don't punish them for accidents or delays.

Should pull-ups be part of the program?

It's a matter of personal preference. They do not necessarily help or hinder the process. Some parents find them helpful for children who continue to wet when they sleep.

Should we be worried if our child isn't trained by age 5?

It depends. If she is delayed in other things, that could be a concern. Does the child have control? If not, she may have a problem with her urinary tract or bowels and should be evaluated by a doctor. If he's trained for day, but is still wetting at night, it may be normal. At least 10 percent of kids will still be wetting the bed at age 5. This is often genetic. Night urination can even occur up to 10 or 11 years of age without any significant problem, but it's still a good idea to check with your pediatrician.

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