Tired of changing diapers? When it comes to toilet
teaching, take your cues from your child. Showing an interest in the potty, being
aware of peeing and pooping, and expressing the need to go are signs that your child
is probably ready. Build on that awareness by reading potty books together and "practicing"
with a potty seat.
Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a toddler is developing as expected.
There's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some children gain skills earlier
or later than others. Toddlers who were born prematurely reach
milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your child's progress.
Here are some things your toddler might be doing:
Communication and Language Skills
says more than 50 words
uses at least two-word sentences ("I go!")
is understood half the time by a stranger
uses real words ("breakfast") instead of baby talk ("num-nums")
Movement and Physical Development
stacks small blocks
kicks a ball
walks down stairs
draws lines and circular scribbles
feeds himself or herself well
Social and Emotional Development
plays alongside other children
fears things like loud sounds, certain animals, etc.
might tell you when a diaper is soiled or he or she needs to use the potty
Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)
can follow a two-step command ("Pick up your toy and put it on the shelf.")
can name many body parts
can pick out pictures in a book
starts to engage in pretend play, such as feeding a baby doll
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Every child develops at his or her own pace, but some signs could indicate a delay
in development. Talk to your doctor if your child:
doesn't run, or always walks on tippy toes
doesn't speak, or makes vowel sounds but no consonants or words
doesn't express emotions (happy, sad, frustrated, excited) in response to others
does not engage in pretend play
makes limited eye contact
Also, if you ever notice that your child has lost skills or shows weakness on one
side of the body, tell your doctor.