Toilet Learning Recap
Potty training may prevail (or begin!) right about now. If you are a first-time parent, you are also trying to figure out how to support your child through the potty training process. It is hard to resist comparing notes with other parents with children around this age, but try. Hearing that Jayden down the street has dryly slept through for weeks will only increase your own anxiety
Just as with all other areas of childhood development, there are many individual differences—physical, emotional, and cognitive—that determine when children learn to use the potty. We know (because we have been there with our kids) that nothing is written in ink with toilet learning. Check out what the experts have to say about potty training, and keep these general trends in mind:
- Girls tend to learn earlier than boys
- Second and later-born kids learn earlier and faster than first-borns
- The later the child starts toilet learning, the faster the process
Who’s the Boss?
By the end of the day, do you feel like a waiter, housekeeper, cook, and all-around personal assistant to the big cheese—your two year old? Kids at this age still haven’t the foggiest idea of another person’s perspective and want life to carry on according to their ideas and NOW. Maybe that means directing mom and dad in how their food should be placed on a plate, in what order they put on their clothes, and when they go to bed.
Well, we have been around a little longer than they have and have some tricks to make them still feel important and give you a few moments of a sanity break:
- Hire her as your helper. For example, get her a small broom and have her sweep up the kitchen. Or, when baking (as if you have time to bake!), have her deposit some of the ingredients into the bowl. Sorting the laundry is always an adventure for a two year old. Keep tasks simple and interesting.
- Model the words that you want her to say. When you ask her to help, use those words—please and thank you. Lead by example, and she’ll follow suit when she asks you to do something.
- Respect her ideas. So, she may be wearing violently differently patterned shirts and pants but she thinks she is the cat’s meow—especially because she came up with the concept of her outfit and successfully executed it.
- Give her your attention. Is there anything more frustrating than when you are talking to someone who is reading the paper or watching TV? It is not different when you are two. If you are engrossed, tell her: “Mommy is reading the paper and will be with you in one minute.” She may not understand the concept of “one minute,” but at least you have acknowledged her attempts to get your attention. Then, take the time to listen to what she has to say.
- Choice A or Choice B. Don’t ask her to do something, such as go to bed, if it is not a choice. But do give her a choice in implementing what you need done. For example, “Would you like to walk to your bedroom or would you like to go piggy-back?” Giving her choices keeps her feeling that she is in control.
It’s terrifying to hear: You awake to your child screaming and find her with wide-open eyes, sitting up in bed and almost shaking in fear. Then she falls back asleep. You have just witnessed a night tremor or sometimes called a night terror. Though tempting to hold your child during these tremors, try to resist. She’ll fall back asleep on her own; and sometimes, holding a child can interfere with the natural progression of the tremor coming to an end. She’ll have no memory of it in the morning. These night occurrences usually cease before the school-aged years. If you have concerns, though, always consult with your child’s pediatrician.
Other nighttime issues for your 31-33 month old are:
- Going-to-Bed Battles
- Fears of Bugs in the Bed!
- Sleepwalking: Why It Happens, What to Do
Eating Healthily (or Maybe Just Eating At All)
Sudden change in tastes and eating habits is a common phenomenon observed by parents of two year olds. You proudly watched her shove pieces of broccoli into her mouth as an older infant and now, screams “NO” at the mere site of it. If you can, try not to turn food into an emotional issue. It is yet another means of her maintaining control.
Use these tips for easier toddler meals:
- Sometimes it is not the food but how it is presented that makes her turn up her nose. Pay attention to how she likes food cut up, whether different food selections are allowed to touch each other and if she is partial to a particular food consistency.
- Don’t be surprised if some days she is ravenous and others she seems not to eat at all. In the end, it will balance out.
- Most kids prefer smaller more frequent snacks to three large meals.
- Present food in funny and imaginative ways, such as pancakes that look like mouse ears or a smiley face made out of a vegetable medley.
- Offer choices but don’t overwhelm her or you’ll find the smorgasbord on the floor.
- Pay attention to her cues. A child who is tired will not be a willing participant at the family dinner.
- Model nutritious eating habits in front of your toddler. Remember you are her first teacher.
More Development Help
As you’re considering your child’s development, keep in mind that all children are unique. Whether your child reaches milestones early or late, she has her own developmental path to follow. The dividing lines between these months are very fuzzy. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s development, please check with her health care provider.
- Review what was happening in Baby’s last months.
- Learn what to expect in Baby’s 34th, 35th, & 36th months.