Your 11-month-old: Week 1

Your 11-month-old: Week 1

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How your baby's growing

The things your baby says are probably sounding more like real words, and the intonations in her babbling may remind you of true speech. As her brain continues to develop, so does your baby's ability to reason and speak.

Encourage your baby's interest in language and her understanding of two-way communication by being an avid listener and responding to her. To polish her memory skills, play games like patty-cake and peekaboo.

  • Learn more fascinating facts about your 11-month-old's development.

Your life: Discipline disagreements

Just when you and your partner have established common ground on the basics of raising a baby, here comes a new, hot-button issue to figure out: how you'll discipline your almost-toddler.

Remember that you and your partner bring different styles and experiences to parenting. This is a good thing, and it's important to respect and appreciate each other's views. Having strong opinions means your partner cares about how your baby is taught to behave and wants to contribute to that process. His or her ideas merit as much consideration as yours.

If you really disagree on a particular method or rule, it's best to talk about it out in the open rather than criticizing or undermining one another (or silently seething). Be specific about your concerns, and avoid being judgmental about your partner's ideas. Convey that you know it's important to come to a consensus: For discipline to be effective, it needs to be consistent.

It may help to do a little research together into the discipline subjects you differ on, consulting an expert or books about the pros and cons of particular approaches and techniques. Parenting strategies have changed since you were kids, and there may be more-effective strategies that you aren't aware of.

Learn about: Potty training

Should I be thinking about potty training?

The short answer: not yet. Unless you began infant potty training with your baby between birth and 4 months, it's probably best to wait until your child is between 18 and 24 months old. Many experts, including physicians at the American Academy of Pediatrics, say that's when most children are developmentally ready for potty training. Moreover, many parents don't start potty training until their children are 2 1/2 to 3 years old, when daytime bladder control has become more reliable.

Why was early potty training once more common in the United States?

Before 1950, most children in the United States were toilet trained by 18 months. And today, most African, Asian, and European babies are trained well before their second birthday. So why are American babies and their parents so attached to their diapers? Many think it's due to the changing views of prominent experts and pediatricians – who now advocate a gentler, more "child-centered" approach to potty training – as well as the invention of disposable diapers.

How will I be able to tell when my child is ready for potty training?

There are two components to readiness: the physical and the emotional. Your child needs to be both physically aware of his bowel and bladder urges and emotionally ready in order for potty training to be a success.

Signs that your child is physically ready include:

  • Fairly regular and predictable bowel movements
  • The ability to wait at least two hours to pee
  • The ability to completely empty his bladder when he pees
  • Being able to help you pull his pants up and down
  • Being able to get on and off the toilet or potty chair
  • An understanding of toilet-related words
  • The ability to follow simple instructions

In terms of emotional readiness, your child should show signs that he's aware that he's going in his diaper. (He might squat in a corner or even tell you with words or gestures that he's peed or pooped.) Given these "prerequisites," few 11-month-olds are considered developmentally ready to learn this important skill.

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