Frustration-Free Communication With Your Toddler

There’s no question about it, and there’s no reason to feel guilty for thinking it: communicating with a toddler can be frustrating. To repeat: communicating with a toddler can be frustrating. Every parent feels this frustration at some point, as do many toddlers! Toddlers are aware of what they want, but they often have trouble conveying these desires to care givers. It is important to remember: it’s ok! Toddlers acquire language each and every day as they are exposed to new words, and, with that, their vocabulary grows.

During this time of rapid language development, there are a few tips to support and encourage language, while also reducing frustration for BOTH communicative partners.

Tips for Frustration-Free Communication with Your Toddler:

  • Reduce the demand: When a child is trying to explain wants and needs, she may feel pressuredFrustration-Free Communication with Your Toddler to verbalize her choices or may just not feel like talking. That’s ok! If a parent is unable to elicit a verbal response, he or she may try reducing the demand! Accept pointing as an alternative, so long as the child is staying compliant with what is being asked of him.
  • Approximate: When a child is attempting to verbalize with a parent, words may often be distorted or syllables may be missing, resulting in immature speech. This is expected in toddlers, but parents can encourage approximation. For example, if a child attempts to say “door,” but instead says “do,” parents can praise their child for trying and respond with “yes, let’s open the door!” Similarly, if a toddler requests “oo na,” parents can reply, “oh, do you want fruit snacks?”
  • Model: When children are acquiring expressive language, parents should be modeling appropriate requests and verbal turn-taking throughout the day. During play, parents can express “my turn,” to encourage toddlers to initiate taking turns and labeling actions. Parents can also model requests, for example, “I want more, Molly. Do you want more?” in order to encourage toddlers to imitate.
  • Provide choices: Offering choices can help to limit toddler frustration during communication. If choices are finite, toddlers won’t have to search through their growing—but sometimes inadequate—vocabulary to retrieve words. If offered, for example, apples or bananas, toddlers will feel the independence to make the decision that they desire. Simultaneously, parents are able to quickly and efficiently learn what their toddlers want.
  • Gesture: It can be frustrating for both parents and toddlers when language demands are placed. If a toddler doesn’t feel like saying “hi” to Uncle Andrew or giving him a hug that day, accept a wave of the hand or a high-five. These gestures are still intentional communication; that is, they still promote social development. Just encourage socialization and more verbalization the next time!

These tips can help to reduce frustration for both parents and toddlers. If parents find that they are unable to understand 50% of what their toddler is trying to communicate, a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help! This time with your toddlers should be fun, and SLPs can help to make things easier for toddlers to express their wants and needs. Comment below if you have any other frustration-free communication tips!

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

The Best Board Games for Toddlers

The Best Board Games for Toddlers

There is no question as to why board games have withstood the test of time, remaining a favorite family past time activity. As the world becomes more and more electronic, board games provide a sense of fun that is refreshing and simple. Not only do board games provide traditional fun for families, they are also great therapy activities.

Board games often act dual purposely during a therapy session – as they can be used as either a motivator or an educational tool. First and foremost, board games provide the perfect environment to practice social skills, such as turn taking and requesting. Basic concepts, such as colors and counting, are often the foundation of many games, providing children with language disorders repeated exposure to and practice with these concepts. Due to a board game’s predictable nature it is an excellent way to target expanding utterance length; moving a child from a one word phrase to a 3 – 4 word sentence (e.g., “I got 2”, “I want the red apple”). Lastly, board games are an excellent way to target improving a child’s attention, due to the fact that the child needs to attend to and follow the sequence of the game in order to participate.

Board games can be introduced into play as early as two with appropriate support from an adult model. Here are some of my favorite board games for toddlers (2 – 4 years).

 Best Board Games for Toddlers:

  1. Diggity Dog-Diggity Dog is a unique game in that it requires two senses, hearing and seeing.
    Rather than rolling dice, you listen for the number of barks the dog says, providing a perfectdiggity dog opportunity to target a child’s attending abilities. Children love this unique twist on a game. Other main concepts that can be targeted is the meaning of “same” versus “different”, as well as labeling colors.
  1. Hi Ho Cherry-O!-This traditional game will always remain a favorite of children and speech-language pathologists. This game challenges a child’s counting and number skills and always acts ashi ho cherryo a great motivator during therapy. Children will practice their social skills as they take turns, as well as exercise their frustration tolerance if all their picked cherries are taken back!
  1. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game-The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel game provides a perfect mix between speech-language pathology and occupational therapy as this game relies greatly on fine
    motor skills. Like Hi-Ho Cherry-O, this game will target counting and number skills, but also has an added color component. Additionally, it will challenge a child’s frustration tolerance as it has higher fine motor expectations.
  1. First Orchard-First Orchard is an excellent choice for a toddler’s first board game. The game features easy rules and a simple game sequence – first roll the die, identify the color and then first orchard“harvest” the appropriate fruit. This game also features a group mentality, as players work against the raven, who wants to eat the fruit. Colors, fruit vocabulary, longer utterance length (e.g., I want the red apple) and appropriate requesting (e.g., “Can I have a pear please?”) are all possible language targets within the game.

Look for my next blog on my favorite board games for preschoolers!

NSPT offers speech and language services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Squeeze! You’re Under Arrest: Potential Pitfalls of Squeezable Food Pouches

At a time when fast, convenient, and easy rule the world, it follows that parents would want to minimize hassle and make meal times as efficient as possible. This attitude has brought about foods such as Go-Gurt and GoGo SqueeZ, pouches of yogurt or pureed foods on-the-go, for home and away. These foods allow children to self-feed, reducing the need for direct parent contact (depending on age), and promoting independence amongst toddlers. Sounds great, right?

So, What’s The Problem with Squeezable Food Pouches?

These foods are quick and easy, but no real “work” is required for children to advance their developing
pouches-Portrait
oral-motor skills. Sucking is one of the earliest skills a child acquires (e.g., breast/bottle feeding), and these pouches require little or nothing more. Children tend to transition from liquids to pureed foods around six months; however, pureed foods should no longer be the primary form of nutrition (for typically developing children) beyond 12 to 18 months. Purees can be used as snacks, of course, so long as children are eating solids (e.g., chicken nuggets, etc.) during regular mealtimes.

The ideal feeding experience is multisensory. Children often use their fingers (touch) to feed, they are able to smell and see what’s on their plate, and, ultimately, food reaches the lips and mouth (taste). This multisensory cycle promotes development, allowing children to interact with their food and take a more active role in feeding. Using squeezable pouches alone removes the multisensory experience, as children are not seeing food, touching food, or even using their lips to scrape their food off a spoon. Blocking this sensory input can result in difficulties once new textures are introduced (e.g., aversion to crunchy foods, or difficulty with chewing).

What Can Parents Do?

Keep squeezable food consumption to a minimum. There is no question that they are a very convenient option, but as they are encouraging walking and talking skills, parents should also be introducing a variety of textures and foods. There are also ways to make squeezable food pouches a little more challenging in order to further feeding development while still allowing children to self-feed on textures they are comfortable with. Spoon attachments, for example, require that children involve their lips to scrape food off the spoon, allowing for greater sensory input!

Use squeezable pouches with attachments. The three options below offer great additions to squeezable food pouches. These spoon attachments fit onto most squeezable snack pouches, promoting oral-motor development.

The link below is a great alternative to food pouches. This spoon is still a self-feeder, allowing children to control the amount of food squeezed onto the spoon. Parents can fill the spoon with whatever pureed food they desire, either home-made or packaged!

Boon Squirt Spoon

What If Parents Need Help With Feeding?

Speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists are here to help! If children are struggling with a transition from purees to more solid foods, these therapists can educate families on appropriate foods to try, reduce stressors around meal time, and provide direct therapy to children who require it!

the development of play

From Stacking Blocks to Tea Parties: The Development of Play

At each stage of our lives we have certain responsibilities; as adults we work, as highschoolers we went to school, as kids we played. Playing is a fundamental skill for children, and often acts as an avenue for other skills to develop. While playing, kids explore the world; they learn how things work, they arethe development of play exposed to new vocabulary and they learn to interact with other kids.

Play mirrors language development. As a child ages, their language skills develop, progressing from one word utterances to 3 – 4 word phrases and ultimately reaching conversational level skills. Along with this improvement and development of language abilities, a child’s play skills will also progress through a developmental hierarchy. Therefore, just as there are developmental steps with language development, there are certain play milestones that a child will progress through.

Use the table below as a reference to determine appropriate play skills for your own child for his or her age.

The Development of Play:

Age Play Skills
0-6 Months – Demonstrates reaching and banging behaviors for toys- Starts to momentarily look at items and smile in a mirror

– Rattles and Tummy Time mats are very popular at this age

6-12 Months – Begins to participate in adult-led routine games(e.g., Peek-a-boo).

Functional play skills are emerging at this age (i.e., playing with a toy as it is meant to be used). Examples of functional play are pushing a car or stirring with a spoon.

– Demonstrates smiling and laughing during games

 

12-18 Months – Consistently demonstrates functional use of toys- Emerging symbolic play skills were be observed at this age (i.e., the use of an object to represent something else). For example, pretending a banana is a telephone or pretending to brush a doll’s hair with an imaginary brush

– A child will also ask for help from a caregiver or adult if his or her toy is not working

 

18-24 Months – Pretend/symbolic play will become more advanced with the use of multiple toys in one play situation (e.g., playing kitchen or house)- There is much more manipulation of toys at this age – grouping of like items and assembling a complex situation

– Children will also become more independent in putting toys away or repairing broken pieces

 

24-30 Months – At this age children will begin to demonstrate parallel play. In other words, children will engage in the same play activity with the absence of interacting with each other- Although at this age, children are not yet interacting together directly, they will begin to verbalize more around children as well as share toys with other peers

 

30-36 Months – Children at this age are becoming expert playmates – long play sequences will be carried out. Typically, children will begin by playing out familiar routines, such as a parent’s dinner routine. As children age, new endings to play sequences will emerge- Dolls or other play animals may become active participants in a play sequence.

 

Rossetti, L. (2006). The Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale. Linguisystems, Inc.

Encourage your child to explore and interact with new toys. Try sabotaging a play sequence (e.g., putting a block on your head rather than on the floor) to add extra fun or laughs to an afternoon. While playing with your child, also encourage and add language to the situation. You can do this by asking the child, “What should the horse do next?” or even just narrating what you are doing, e.g., “First I’m going to stir my pot, then…”.

Playing is meant to be fun and enjoyable for parents and their kids. Enjoy the warm weather, encourage language and play development and go outside to play!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

signs my child will walk soon

When Will My Child Start Walking? 5 Signs That Your Child Will Be Walking Soon

All children develop and grow and their own rates. Current research gives a range where typically developing children achieve their gross motor milestones. But when the baby books and Pediatricians tell you that your baby will probably be walking independently somewhere between 10-15 months, with some children even walking at 18 months and still falling within normal ranges, parents want more answers. A great way to see if your child is on the right track is to check for these 5 signs that walking may be in their imminent future.

5 signs your child will be walking soon:

  1. Pull to Stand – When a child begins pulling up into standing using hands or stablesigns my child will walk furniture, he is strengthening his legs to prepare them for walking. The mature form of pulling to stand is to perform through a half-kneeling position.
  2. Cruising – Cruising is defined as walking while holding onto furniture. Cruising allows your child to practice weight shifting and forward progression in a safe environment.
  3. Crawling onto and over Furniture – As a child becomes stronger throughout his core and extremities, you may find him starting to climb onto furniture or crawl over obstacles. These are all signs that your child is developing the muscle strength and balance needed to walk independently.
  4. Walks with Push-Toy/Handheld Assistance – The added stability of walking while holding onto a push-toy or a parent’s hands helps children develop the confidence needed to take those first independent steps. Some children may use this as a crutch, so be sure to provide as little support as needed (2 handheld assistance>1 handheld assistance> holding onto sleeve of shirt>holding blanket between child and parent).
  5. Standing Independently – Children begin to let go of objects while standing when they feel confident and stable. The longer the child is able to stand, the greater his confidence is.  Bonus if the child is able to get into or out-of this position with control by himself.

If your child has not begun demonstrating the above skills by 12 months of age, he may benefit from a physical therapy evaluation.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

language development throughout the day

5 Easy Ways to Encourage Your Baby’s Language Throughout the Day

Language is used everywhere around us, in multiple ways and in all facets of life. How does your little one learn language when she is so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? When you think about talking to your baby, it may seem a bit silly since she isn’t talking back. However, she is communicating with you in other ways, such as with eye gaze, coos, and smiles. Interacting and speaking to your baby throughout the day is thought to facilitate language acquisition. It has been found that the amount of words addressed to 1- to- 2-year olds by their mothers is predictive of their vocabulary growth rate (Huttenlocher, Haight, Bryk, Seltzer, & Lyons, 1991).

Here are 5 easy ways to encourage your baby’s language development throughout the day:

  1. Use infant-directed speech: Also known as motherese, this is speech that is directed specifically at your baby5 easy ways to encourage your babies language throughout the day in a prosodic and deliberate manner. Research has shown that babies actually prefer motherese to its counterpart, adult-directed speech.
  1. Read books: Interacting and exposing your baby to books and the act of reading is a great way to encourage language. At this age, picture books are ideal and facilitate early learning of concepts such as colors, numbers, and animals. It also helps teach book orientation and direction of reading.
  1. Label: Give your child the names for common objects and objects that they are consistently exposed to. This input increases receptive language which will in turn increase expressive language. Thanks to fast-mapping (the ability to learn words with minimal exposure), typically-developing toddlers require minimal exposure to new words in order to learn their meaning and use them appropriately.
  1. Sing songs: Singing songs to your child such as ‘Rock a Bye Baby’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ not only provides comfort but also includes exposure to repetitive language models.
  1. Use simple language: When speaking to your baby, use simple language by communicating in words and/or short phrases. This limits the amount of language that the child has to process and allows them to focus on the important parts of the message.

Before you know it (and before you may be ready for it), your baby will be talking, walking, and going to school. Facilitate their language learning by utilizing the tips mentioned above. If you become concerned (lack of interest, eye contact, gestures, and/or speech sounds, among others) with your baby’s language and speech skills, seek an evaluation with a certified speech and language pathologist.


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Click here to view our speech and language milestone infographic!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reference: Huttenlocher, J., Haight, W., Bryk, A., Seltzer, M., & Lyons, T. (1991). Early vocabulary growth: Relation to language input and gender. Developmental Psychology, 27, 236-248.

age appropriate requesting

I Want It Now! A Guide to Age-Appropriate Requesting

As children learn and grow, what counts as “appropriate” requesting also changes. Parents may notice that what once was acceptable (like grunting and pointing) is no longer as children’s language expands. See below for an overview of appropriate requesting for each age range. It should be noted however, that each age group represents a range of skills and some children may develop faster or slower than others.

 A Month-By-Month Guide to Age-Appropriate Requesting:

  • Birth-9 Months: These babies will express their wants and needs through vocalizing, shouting,age appropriate requesting and crying. Oftentimes, parents report that they can tell the meaning behind different cries however, unfamiliar adults may have difficulty. Babies may be requesting a diaper change, milk, or to be picked up/rocked.
  • 9-12 Months: Requesting in this age range becomes slightly more volitional than for the younger babies. These babies will continue to vocalize to make wants and needs known, but they may also reach for desired objects (e.g., toy, rattle, spoon), and may imitate sounds to indicate a continuance of play (e.g., “buh” when caregiver says “ball.”)
  • 12-18 Months: Once toddlers begin to speak in single words (whether prompted or independently), requesting becomes more mature. Toddlers may use words (e.g., “more,” “help,” or naming desired object) to indicate their needs. Children in this age range are often more likely to point to preferred items (e.g., ball or bubbles), and will tend to pull caregivers toward desired objects (e.g., bookshelf, puzzles, or anything out of reach).
  • 18-24 Months: Children in this age range will often use one or two words when requesting. These requests again become more mature, as children will name objects during play to indicate their preferences (e.g., “ball,”). They may also shake their heads to express “no.”
  • 24-30 Months: Two year olds will begin to express desires with two or three words, often using early pronouns (e.g., “I want ball”). They may request to ask for help, (e.g., “open juice”), and may respond to questions from caregivers (e.g., “do you want more milk?” answer: “more milk”).
  • 30-36 Months: Three year olds will begin to express “yes” and “no” verbally, when asked questions regarding their wants and needs. Expressive requesting will become more mature, and children will often use four words to express their preferences. Telling parents or teachers, “I want milk please,” these children are more independent than previously.
  • 36 Months+: Requesting for preschool-aged children again becomes more complex. Once mastering four word requesting, these children may express, “can I have the ____.” Often this will require prompting for parents or caregivers, and children may benefit from adult models for appropriate sentence construction.

Click here to read 5 things you didn’t know about how your child learns language


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reference: Rossetti, L. (2006). The Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale. Linguisystems, Inc.

5 things you didn't know about how your baby learns language

5 Things You Didn’t Know About How Your Baby Learns Language

Has your child ever surprised you with his knowledge and actions, or used a word that you thought he had never heard before? Have you ever thought, ‘My child is a genius’? If so, I have to agree that children and the way that they develop language skills is quite impressive!

Here are 5 things you didn’t know about how your baby learnslanguage development language:

  1. Babies cannot learn language from iPads and TV. Although there are many apps available that target language skills, they do not replace human interaction. Patricia Kuhl and her research team concluded that language learning takes place in a social context (interaction with a person!) (Roehrich, 2013). Their research has shown that American babies exposed to non-native sounds (sounds not in their primary language) in a face-to-face context were able to learn to distinguish these sounds from their native sounds. However, when presented with the non-native sounds via audiovisual and audio recordings only, they were not able to distinguish between the two.
  2. Motherese works. Motherese (also known as baby talk or infant directed speech) is spoken by mothers around the world. Is there a purpose to this talk? The answer is yes! Motherese helps babies to learn the sounds, patterns, and intonation of their language. The prosody of motherese is thought to facilitate processing in domains such as word segmentation (Thiessen, Hill, & Saffran, 2005) and word learning (Graf-Estes, 2008).
  3. Babies start learning language in the womb. Believe it or not, the number of neurons (nerve cells) in our brains peaks before we are even born!  Babies have a critical period for learning sounds in their native language, and this critical period occurs before your child turns 1 year old. This period begins when your baby first develops the ability to hear (around 16 weeks after conception). Before this critical period, babies are able to discriminate between any sounds in any language. At approximately the age of 8-10 months, babies are pruning connections in their brain and fine-tuning the connections that are used most frequently. This is why, after the critical period, your baby no longer has the ability to discriminate sounds in native and non-native languages. When your baby is 6 months old, they have an ability that you as an adult do not have! (Roehrich, 2013)
  4. Babies communicate via eye gaze. Have you ever wondered how your baby communicates without using words (or cries?) The answer is eye gaze! Eye gaze is one of the first ways that a baby and their mother connect socially. Babies show preference for items and people by demonstrating longer eye gaze towards a person or object. When they are a little older, babies also use joint attention and gestures to communicate. This is demonstrated by the baby looking at a preferred object, then making eye contact with their communication partner, and then back to the preferred object again, attempting to draw the adult’s attention to their preferred object.
  5. Toddlers fast-map. During the second year of life, toddlers learn and retain new words after minimal exposure to the word and its use. This enables them to expand their receptive and expressive vocabularies at a rapid rate.

Watch this TED Talk that provides additional information about how babies learn language. If you are concerned with your child’s language skills, consult a speech and language pathologist!

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!  

References: 

 

Language Development Red Flags: Ages 0-36 Months

Have you ever wondered if your child is on track for “typical” language development? The following red flag checklist can help give you a general idea if your child is not following typical patterns of development. It is important to note that some children develop language a few months earlier or later than these general guidelines.

Red Flags for Language Development by 3-4 months:red flags for language development

  1. Child does not react to sudden noises
  2. Child does not turn head to sounds such as a bell or a rattle
  3. Child is not quieted by a caregivers voice
  4. Child does not seem to look at faces or objects- the baby should track items or people in her line of vision
  5. The baby seems unusually quiet, no cooing
  6. The baby as not developed “different” cries to signify different needs i.e. hungry, tired, distress, etc.
  7. The child has not developed a smile response to familiar caregiver
  8. The child does not use her voice to attract attention

Red Flags for Language Development by 14 months:

  1. Child does not follow simple directions such as, “give” or “come”
  2. Child does not seem to understand simple gestures of “hi” or “bye”
  3. Child does not have interest in simple books and simple pictures
  4. Baby does not seem to communicate other than crying
  5. Baby does not use simple gestures such as waving for bye-bye or hi, pointing, reaching, showing
  6. Child does not produce a variety of consonant or vowel sounds and/or does not produce sounds frequently
  7. Child does not use 2 to 8 words spontaneously
  8. Child does not communicate in a variety of ways such as facial expressions, eye gazing, or gestures

Red Flags for Language Development by 28-30 months:

  1. Child shows inconsistent response to words or directions
  2. Child needs repetition
  3. Chid gives inappropriate responses to simple ‘wh’ questions such as who is this? What is this?
  4. Child is not interested in simple stories
  5. Child seems to easily forget familiar routines
  6. Child becomes easily frustrated during communication exchanges
  7. Child mostly relies on yelling, grunting, or incoherent utterances for communication
  8. Words do not seem like adult words or may be part words i.e. “Da” for dog
  9. The child uses the same pseudo word or short syllable to represent many different things i.e. “ba” for boy, ball and baby
  10. Child is unable to name most familiar items
  11. Child has no clear “yes” or “no” response
  12. Child has less than 200 words and lacks steady vocabulary
  13. Child may have “lost” some speech

Red Flags for Language Development by 36 months:

  1. Is unable to follow more complex directions i.e., get your coat then go to the car
  2. Lacks interest in or does not remember simple and familiar stories, songs, nursery rhymes
  3. Does not understand the difference between who, what and where questions
  4. Is overly dependent on parents or siblings for communication
  5. Persists in babbling in place of adult speech “bibi” for baby
  6. Clarity of the child’s speech decreases as the child attempts longer utterances
  7. Is not speaking in sentences of three to four words
  8. Is not beginning to use simple grammar- articles, verb endings, plurals, pronouns
  9. Less than 800 words
  10. Is not easily picking up new vocabulary

If you believe your child meets the criteria of this red flag checklist for their age, please speak with a professional speech and language pathologist who can thoroughly evaluate their language development. As mentioned previously, children may develop a few months earlier or later than the time frames outlined by this checklist.

Click here to download our speech and language milestone infographic!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today! 

Potty Training: Is There A Right Way?

The internet provides us with countless resources on potty training from research articles, websites, and blog posts like this one.  While the sharing of ideas can be of great benefit, it can also be overwhelming for those looking for concrete answers.  Potty training feels like one of those topics that has been written about by just about everyone.  In fact, in doing a Google search for potty training, over 15 relevant websites were listed.  Some even offer programs that “guarantee” success in a matter of days!  With all that we know about individual differences among children and various styles of parenting, someone like myself wonders how anyone can really know the “right” way to toilet train a child.  What may be a more important question is, what makes one method the “right” method?

In my experience working with children and their families, I have met many parents seeking the “right” or “best” way topotty training the right way teach their child a new skill.  The fact is, people (and families) are especially complex, so it’s near impossible to determine the one “best” way to do things when it comes to parenting.  What has been concluded about potty training is that there are many ways to do it successfully.  One research study I read recently examined the impact of toilet training method on dysfunctional voiding (having toileting accidents).  It very clearly stated that “there was no significant difference in dysfunctional voiding between toilet training methods.”

If you or someone you know are about to embark on the exciting task of potty training a child, here are 4 points that are consistent for success, no matter which method you choose.

Potty Training The Right Way:

  1. Be consistent and persistent— yes, it isn’t always easy but in the end it will pay off!
  2. Be flexible and expect setbacksaccidents will happen, don’t expect otherwise!  Just as all new life transitions, there is no way to be certain of how your child will respond.
  3. Celebrate successes—One mother recently described how she had a “potty party” for her child to kickoff an intensive potty-training weekend.  Be sure to provide praise for even the smallest successes (for example, if a child has an accidents on his way to the bathroom, praise him for making the attempt to go in the toilet)
  4. Remember, it’s a family process—The potty training process can be challenging for everyone involved, not just the child.  Practice patience as your young ones acquire this new skill.

Do you have more tips or suggestions about potty training?  What worked for you? Please leave comments below!

Click here to read 10 Do’s and Dont’s on Potty Training.

potty training
NSPT offers mental health services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!