Interested in taking a trip with your toddler on the potty training train? Before you start, doctors recommend making sure your youngster is ready for the adventure, which can include a few unexpected stops along the way.

Interested in taking a trip with your toddler on the potty training train? Before you start, doctors recommend making sure your youngster is ready for the adventure, which can include a few unexpected stops along the way.

Don't start toilet training unless your child can stay dry for about two hours, is able to pull his pants up and down and can verbalize that she needs to use the bathroom, the experts said. "There isn't any reason to try it before they can talk about the issue - until they're capable of differentiating between wet and dry," said Nancy Stehulak, Extension educator and director of the Ohio State University Extension in Henry County.

It's also important to be sure you, the parent, are ready. Be prepared to stay positive throughout the process, said Dr. Rebecca Baum, a fellow in the developmental behavioral pediatrics department of Nationwide Children's Hospital. "It can get kind of frustrating," she said. "It's okay to get frustrated, but it's important to not let it show."

Baum suggests teaching children words for urinating and making a bowel movement when they are about 18 months old. It's a good idea for parents to make conversation about the processes, she said. If you see your child making a bowel movement in his or her diaper, say "it looks like your body wants to make some pooh pooh or pee." This helps them understand that the body sends signals about the need to go to the bathroom.

Stehulak's approach involves giving children ownership of the process and convincing them that they want to stay dry. She recommends taking a child into the bathroom and trying to get them to urinate. Praise them for coming into the bathroom, for pulling down their pants and every step they complete, regardless of whether they actually go to the bathroom.

Then put them in underwear or fabric training pants - something that will feel wet if they have an accident. When your child wets in her pants, explain that wet is "yucky," she said. Say, "Dry is best." You may go through many accidents, but the child should buy into the philosophy and take responsibility for keeping themselves dry, she said.

Don't be too pushy, added Dublin mom, Susan Porter-Pintz. She thinks she pushed her now 6-year-old daughter, Lillian, too hard. The youngster responded by taking a long time to be fully trained. Lillian used to stay dry at preschool but had accidents at home. "As a parent, you should be prepared to get on and off the train a couple of times," she said, adding that her son learned much more quickly.

"Everybody's on a different track."

Bed wetting
Just because a child has mastered the art of using the potty does not mean he or she will stay dry overnight.
Twenty percent of 5-year-olds still wet the bed, according to Dr. Baum. The problem typically lessens as children grow older, she said. By age 7, only 10 percent of kids wet the bed.

For most children, the issue is that they sleep so soundly that they sometimes do not receive their body's signals that they have to urinate, she said. Still, it's something that should be shared with your child's doctor. Pediatricians can recommend medication or bedwetting alarms if the problem persists.

Bedwetting also tends to run in families, Baum said. Parents who had issues with bed wetting can expect that their children may have problems. Parents can help children by limiting fluids in the evening, taking them to the bathroom an hour or two after they've fallen asleep and rewarding them for staying dry, Baum said.

She also suggested parents use plastic mattress covers and teach kids to change the bed. "It really does get better with time," she said.

It's also important to let the child know he or she isn't the only one with a problem. "Let the child know it's really common," she said.