Here on Lake Michigan, where I’m spending the week with five nieces and nephews under the age of eight, you can already see peer pressure at work.
If seven-year-old Hale is doing something, you can bet his cousin, six-year-old Tiger, wants to be doing it, too. And Ryan, Hale’s six-year-old sister, certainly does not want to be left out. Maggie (Tiger’s sister), who will turn two in October, speaks in complete sentences, while Charlotte (Hale and Ryan’s sister), who turned two in May, saves her energy for key words like “bottle,” “Mama,” “Dada,” “Giggy” (for Grandma), and “mine.” Both Maggie and Charlotte are good at identifying what is “mine.”
Maggie and Charlotte can also identify when they have a dirty diaper, the first step in potty training. Of course, the key step is being able to identify when you need to go before you actually go. They’re not quite at that point yet, but it likely won’t be long.
I know parents who, once their child can identify their need to go, stay at home for an entire day (usually a weekend day) with the toddler, diapers off, and essentially teach them how to indicate when they have the urge so that the parents can quickly help the child get to the potty. The child repeats the experience in succession enough to understand the necessary steps and it soon becomes a habit that they can initiate on their own. Other parents take a more gradual approach and wait until the child can communicate when he or she has to go and also can consistently get to the bathroom before they go. The child then graduates to pull-ups and might wear a diaper only at night, moving gradually to “big girl” or “big boy” underpants.
Whatever the approach, it’s helpful for toddlers to have a book like No More Diapers for Ducky! that depicts other youngsters going through the same experience they are going through. The best thing about Ducky is that it shows one child teaching another child by example.