Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Potty Training and Emotional "Readiness"

Emotional readiness for potty training means a willingness to cooperate. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the likelihood of such cooperation increases after the first birthday with the emergence of the following:

  • A desire for independence and self-mastery
  • An interest in imitating others
  • A desire for approval

Once these fundamental characteristics in place, all that’s necessary is motivating children to cooperate. In other words, anything that increases the willingness of toddlers to embrace potty training automatically creates the emotional readiness that the AAP says is essential.

So, how does one help a 1- to 2-year-old get excited about potty training? Here at Baby Signs we’ve given that question a great deal of thought. Based on what we know about development, what we’ve experienced ourselves with our own children and grandchildren, and what we’ve heard from many parents, we’ve put together a set of materials designed to do just that—inspire even 1- to 2-year-olds to “climb on board the potty train.” They are all included in a kit entitled Potty Training Made Easy with the Baby Signs Program.

A highlight of these materials is our All Aboard the Potty Train DVD featuring our popular DiaperDoodle characters who slowly act out a typical “potty routine” that incorporates five helpful potty-time signs: POTTY, MORE, ALL DONE, WASH, and GOOD JOB. Additional motivational components include a lift-a-flap board book, conductor’s whistle and stickers.

To review: If children are physically and cognitively “ready” for potty training between ages 1 and 2 and can be inspired to cooperate using fun materials, why wait! Help reverse the diaper-industry-inspired trend toward later and later potty training by getting your child out of diapers by age 2. Your child, the environment, and your pocketbook will all thank you!


Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, the Baby Signs Program


Professor Emeritus, UC Davis

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