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Toilet Training

When should I start toilet training my child?

Do not start toilet training until both you and your child are ready. You are ready when you are able to devote the time and energy necessary to encourage your child on a daily.

Signs that your child is ready include the following:

  • Your child signals that his or her nappy is wet or soiled.
  • Your child seems interested in the potty chair or toilet.
  • Your child says that he or she would like to go to the potty.
  • Your child understands and follows basic instructions.
  • Your child feels uncomfortable if his or her nappy is wet or soiled.
  • Your child stays dry for periods of 2 hours or longer during the day.
  • Your child wakes up from naps with a dry nappy.
  • Your child can pull his or her pants down and then up again.

You may start noticing these signs when your child is 18 to 24 months of age. However, it is not uncommon for a child to still be in nappies at 2 and a half to 3 years of age.

What causes bed-wetting?

A number of things can cause bed-wetting. Some of the more common causes of bed-wetting include the following:

  • Genetic factors (it tends to run in families)
  • Difficulties waking up from sleep
  • Stress
  • Slower than normal development of the central nervous system (which reduces the child’s ability to stop the bladder from emptying at night)
  • Hormonal factors (not enough antidiuretic hormone is produced, which is the hormone that slows urine production at night)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys
  • Abnormalities in the spinal cord
  • A small bladder

Bed-wetting is not a mental or behavior problem. It doesn’t happen because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.

 

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