Here are two goals which can bring joy to a parent’s heart: “sleeping through the night” and “toilet trained.” For the latter, Elizbeth Pantley has scored again with her newest book on potty training. It isn’t unheard of for parents to find themselves in unpleasant, close enocunters of the potty-training kind when trying to train their toddlers. It doesn’t have to be so and Pantley gives us suggestions, not the least of which is to recognize the signs of each child’s readiness to be trained. If they are not physically ready and able, training can quickly move to a battle of wills, with no winners insight.

Gentle ways to help your child say good-bye to diapers, Elizabeth Pantley, McGraw Hill, 2007, 174 pages, softcover

Right at the beginning, Pantley sets out a Readiness Quiz so that we know what signs of readiness to look for in our children. She addresses topics such as keeping it natural, making it a game, getting to the bathroom quickly (kids tend to leave it to the last second and when they say they “need to go,” time is of the essence), bathroom safety, how to teach your child to wipe properly and wash their hands afterwards.

There is a chapter on bed-wetting which is extremely helpful. Bed-wetting is more common with boys and during the night, the kidneys may not be sending appropriate messages to the brain to signal the need to go and/or the bladder is not fully developed enough to go through the night. Bed-wetting can sporadically last for years, or not. She provides constructive ways to handle bed-wetting and to help keep your child dry, without them losing their self-esteem in the process. Pantley even includes some suggestions for toilet training children with special needs.

While her book focuses on training singleton toddlers, there reference about training twins and more. She gives us notice that our children may not be ready to train at the same time – and haven’t we heard that before in other contexts! – and reminds us not to compare them regarding successes and failures – yet another common theme for parents with multiples. Each child having their own potty ensures that when the time is right, there will be no waiting in line for a turn and perhaps subsequent accidents.

While toilet training is long-past with my own children, I really appreciated Pantley’s easy writing style, identifying the challenges and offering suggestions, and positive approach to a topic which can be a challenge for parents as well as toddlers. She takes the pain out of it all for everyone and if your children are nearly ready to toilet train, this is one book you don’t want to miss reading.

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