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Potty training praise and encouragement: How much?

When your child is learning to use the potty should you give lots of applause and praise, or simple, matter-of-fact acceptance? Which is the right response for potty-training success? Parenting expert Elizabeth Pantley offers some advice.

Potty training girl“What you have to do is…”

If you research this seemingly simple question, you’ll get adamant advice on both ends of the spectrum. Some experts say you should give lots and lots of positive feedback, including a party-like atmosphere – with noisemakers, cake and party hats. Others say you should avoid getting overly excited or emotional and simply acknowledge that he’s done well.

The right answer is… that the right answer is different for every parent and child pair.

>> Talk to other moms about potty training on the message boards

Some parents are naturally more enthusiastic about everything their child does whether it’s taking the first step, building a block tower or tinkling in the potty. Other parents tend to be more reserved.

Every child an individual

Children need different things from their parents, too. Some children thrive on their parent’s energy and will do anything for a round of applause — while other children are easily overwhelmed and prefer more subtle praise. Even two different children in the same family will respond better to different levels of enthusiasm.

>> Starting the potty training stage for toddlers

Probably the best advice is to do what comes naturally and what seems to encourage your child to keep trying. What’s most important is that you want your child to know that you support him, and that you are proud of his efforts along the way, as well as his successes.

>> Dealing with potty training regressions

A reminder to be patient

This whole potty-training process takes time. You probably won’t feel confident to completely turn over your child’s toileting to him for many months. So, relax, be patient, and enjoy the journey. Children are only little for a very short time – it’s nice to enjoy and embrace every moment.

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