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Anyone who’s raised a child can testify that potty-training can present its own unique challenges.Experts say many parents don’t cope well with those challenges, and that this stage often leads to frustration, confusion and even abuse.KSMU’s Erika Brame has more.
Taking the step from diapers to the toilet is something all children experience.
But child development counselors warn parents that starting too soon can cause more stress for both the parent and the child.
Erica Harris is the executive director of the Lighthouse Child and Family Development Center.
She says potty-training comes with time, not age.
“There’s no hard and fast rule that a child has to be potty-trained at three. They need to be potty trained when they go to kindergarten for most people,” she said.Harris says she reminds parents to be patient and that every child is different.
She says when children are ready, they will show a parent signs.
Those signs include: a diaper is staying dryer longer, the child tells you after they’ve gone potty in a diaper, the child is curious abut the bathroom, and they ask questions about other people in the house using the bathroom.
Harris says if parents push potty-training on a child who isn’t ready, it can result in confusion and frustration on both sides.
“When you push potty training on a child before their ready, you’re going to end up with a child who isn’t going potty because they don’t want to. And it’s not because they are trying to be disobedient or because they are trying to misbehave, but because that’s the one thing a child can control in their lives. No one can make a child use the restroom any more than you can make an adult,” she said.
She encourages parents to speak to a pediatrician or counselor about how and when to begin potty-training.
For KSMU News, I’m Erika Brame.