3-Year Checkup: Healthy Kids Series

This parenting information is part of the "Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures" series. These fact sheets may be given out by Group Health at routine checkups.

Eating

For children from ages 3 to 5 years old, now is the time to help them learn good eating habits.

A balanced meal plan includes the following:

Help your child get the best possible nutrition:

Healthy Habits

Safety

Provide a safe environment for your child.

Parenting

Potty Training

If your child resists potty training:

Let your child decide when to potty train: Your child will decide to use the potty after he or she realizes that there is nothing left to resist.

Have one last talk about potty training: Tell your child that the body makes pee and poop every day, and it belongs to him or her. Say that the "poop wants to go in the toilet" and his or her job is to "help the poop get into the toilet." Tell your child from now on he or she doesn't need help. Then stop all talk about potty training. Keep your child in diapers to take away the anxiety, but not as punishment or to cause embarrassment.

Give praise and rewards: Give praise, smiles, hugs, and kisses for any success. Rewards can include toys, reading a favorite story, or a trip to the park. Sometimes it helps to have one big reward, kept where your child sees it, that must be earned by using the toilet every day. Place stars on a calendar to keep track of your child's success.

Treat constipation: Some children will hold on to bowel movements while learning to potty train. That can lead to painful constipation (hard bowel movements), making the child hold on to bowel movements even more. If this happens, stop all potty training. Put your child in diapers at naptime and bedtime. Give your child natural fiber, such as bran muffins, oatmeal, whole-wheat toast, or prune juice to help soften bowel movements. Talk with your child's doctor if this doesn't work.

Suggested Resources

Websites

Suggested reading

Next well-child visit: 4 years

Adapted with permission from Kaiser Permanente.

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Clinical review by Ted Fahy, MD
Group Health
Reviewed 04/01/2013