Tips for starting potty training

Peter Stavinoha, PhD Author and Neuropsychologist, shares advice for parents on the best method for successfully potty training your child
How to Start Potty Training
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Tips for starting potty training

So my top tips for starting potty training. Step one, make sure that the child is showing signs of readiness. You really don't want to push it too fast or too quickly because you are going to provoke a stubborn response from the child, and that is just going to slow the whole process down. Then you want to make sure that you are role modeling for your children, and, yes, that means letting them see you use the bathroom. A lot of times, we try to get gender specific when we can, so boys are walking in on dads, girls are walking in on moms; so they can identify with the process that each gender is using. We also recommend practice sessions. This is when parents are trying to push the process a little more, a little higher gear. These are scheduled sessions where they sit on the potty, not too long. Parents need to time these practices for when the child is more likely to eliminate. By this point, parents have a fair idea of the schedule that their child is on, so they can try to time it so that it is more likely something is going to happen when they are sitting on the potty for a minute or two. Parents also need to use positive reinforcement. I always recommend hugs and tickles and things that we have an endless supply of. Just to make your child know that he is doing what you want them to do. It will help move things along.

Peter Stavinoha, PhD Author and Neuropsychologist, shares advice for parents on the best method for successfully potty training your child


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Peter Stavinoha, PhD


Peter L. Stavinoha, PhD, ABPP, is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist in Dallas, Texas.  He directs the Neuropsychology Service at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and he is Professor in Psychology/Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was named Distinguished Psychologist for 2005 by the Dallas Psychological Association. Dr. Stavinoha specializes in the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional aspects of developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury in children. As a general parenting expert, he is regularly interviewed in the media, Dallas morning television, Parents and Parenting Magazines, and numerous parenting blogs. Together with Sara Bridget Au, he is co-author of Stress-Free Potty Training. He has also authored several chapters in scholarly texts on subjects ranging from pediatric concussion to brain tumors in children. Dr. Stavinoha received a BA in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Stavinoha completed a residency in Clinical Neuropsychology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and is a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Neuropsychological Society, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology. Dr. Stavinoha has a 16-year old son named Joe.

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