At 21 months of age, your child is more than likely getting used to the idea of using the potty. That does not mean that they are successful at it yet though. This takes time and patience. Sleep disturbances could also be an issue this month.
Your Child’s Development
This month, your toddler continues to learn about using the potty. If you are lucky, you may have already had some success. Most parents find that the progress is slow especially if you are a working parent and have to use daycare. Additionally, if there have been any disruptions to your child’s life, such as a new sibling or moving to a new home, you may notice that any progress is lost and you may have to start over.
If you have started potty training and have had absolutely no success for a couple of months, your child is just not ready. You should stop and wait a few weeks before trying again.
There are many approaches to potty training but only you can decide which method works best for you and your child. Many parents believe in the reward system. Rewarding a child for their success works, but you must be careful using this technique. All children respond to praise. Using a reward system, such as stickers or a treat upon successful use of the potty can be a great aid; however, you must make sure that you are correctly using this tool. Here are some tips:
- Only use a reward system when you are certain that your child is ready for potty training. If they are not ready, when they do not get the reward, it could make them feel bad about themselves for something that they cannot yet control.
- Explain to your child that even at times when they do not get the reward, you are not mad or upset and they should not be either. Tell them they will get to try again next time.
- Use small inexpensive rewards such as stickers. Rewarding extravagant items could cause your child to be extremely disappointed when they do not get the reward and could cause power struggles.
- Remember, your child should focus on the outcome and not the reward. Always praise their successes and never scold or punish your child for any potty related issues.
At 21 months of age, you may also experience disturbances in your child’s sleep patterns. It’s common at this time for children to start to become fearful of things. These fears could come to them in dreams or when they awake. Either way, it usually results in screaming and crying in the middle of the night. When this happens, be reassuring and comforting, but try not to make too much of the situation - doing so could cause your child to intentionally repeat the scene in order to get your attention. And, although it may be very tempting to take your toddler to your bed, it’s not a good idea. Sleeping with you could be the start of a habit that is hard to break. It’s best just to comfort your child until they fall back to sleep.