(BPT) - The words 'spring training' often evoke images of athletes prepping for the new season of baseball. However, for some parents the phrase has a different, more stressful meaning - prepping their toddlers for potty training before they enter pre-school in the fall. Helping tots leave their diaper days behind doesn't have to be an angst-ridden experience for either child or parent.
'For any parent heading in to spring potty training, the secrets to a successful season are the same ones athletes employ - patience and practice,' says Dr. Laura Jana, a pediatrician and the award-winning co-author of 'It's You and Me Against the Pee … and the Poop, Too!' 'Every child develops at his or her own pace, so it's important not to rush potty learning. But if your child is showing signs of being ready, spring can be a great time to start helping him master this eagerly anticipated childhood milestone.'
Jana advises parents to follow this game plan for potty learning success:
1. Watch for the signs.
'Pushing kids before they're ready is a sure recipe for frustration and stress,' Jana says. Instead, watch for typical signs of readiness, such as the ability to use words to express themselves, to walk to the bathroom on their own, and to pull down their own pants. Awareness of the sensation of urination or bowel movements and feeling uncomfortable in a dirty diaper can also indicate readiness.
2. Practice teamwork.
'Mastering toilet use takes teamwork between parent and child,' Jana says. 'It can help to think of the process as 'potty learning,' rather than 'potty training.' Remember that you're both on the same team. You're the coach and it's your job to stay calm, supportive and positive.'
3. Equip your players for success.
Outfitting children with the right potty learning 'equipment' can really help. Adult-size toilets can intimidate some children, so consider a potty seat or ring. Take a trip to the store and let your toddler pick out big-kid underwear.
'I also think it can help to stock up on training pants,' Jana says. 'That's why I'm happy to be partnering with Pampers Easy Ups because having training pants designed to offer an underwear-like look and feel while still safeguarding against the occasional accident can help make the transition from diapers to underwear less stressful by making messes much easier to handle, no matter where they happen.'
4. When kids score, celebrate!
'Every good coach will tell you players learn from their successes and failures, and the same is true for potty learning,' Jana says. While accidents are an inevitable part of potty learning, don't focus on them. Instead, help your child learn to cope with (and help clean up) any messes, and celebrate successes with hugs, kisses and words of encouragement.
'Learning to use the potty is an exciting milestone for toddlers and their parents,' Jana says. 'If your child is headed to pre-school in the fall and shows the signs of being ready for potty learning, a team approach and the right equipment can make the learning process a more positive and enjoyable for parents and children.'
To learn more about the kid- and parent-friendly features of Pampers Easy Ups, you can visit www.pampers.com.