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? 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 in a calm way that he’s done well.

What’s the right answer to “How much praise?”

Teaching your child how to use the toilet can, and should, be as natural as teaching him to build a block tower or use a spoon. Don’t over think every detail of potty training – any more than you would when teaching him to build that block tower!

The right answer to “How much praise” is that the right answer is different for every parent and child pair. 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.

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; 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.

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.

A reminder to be patient!

This whole potty-training process takes time. On average, it takes three to twelve months from the start of training to daytime toilet independence. The more readiness skills that a child possesses, the quicker the process will be.

Keep in mind that the age that a child masters toileting has absolutely no correlation to future abilities or intelligence. Some of the brightest kids take the longest to potty train!

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 single moment.

From The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution (McGraw-Hill) by Elizabeth Pantley

For more articles on Potty Training by Elizabeth Pantley, visit her expert’s page here