Language Development in Toddler

by Adriana Vermillion

Did you know your toddler is listening to absolutely everything you say and he is storing it away at an incredible rate?

In our previous article we looked at Effective Communication with Toddlers, and this week we are looking at Language Development in Toddlers. I hope you find this short article helpful in your journey as a parent.

I would like to encourage you to use the correct names for people, places, and things when you address your toddler instead of using a “baby talk” form of conversation. It is also best if you speak slowly and clearly, and keeping it simple for your toddler to follow and actually engage in conversation.

Your toddler may continue communicating with gestures by pointing at pictures in a book, handing you his shoes or jacket when he wants to go outside, pointing at something he wants, imitating actions and may very well use them in play.

Encourage him to use gestures because they are an important part of language and comprehension development. 

As a parent or educator you can make the connection between gestures and language by using a running commentary such as, "Do you want a banana?" (when your child points to it) or “Do you want a drink?” (when he points at the sink or a beverage), then wait for a response.
Once he is done communicating ask him, "What do you want, juice or water? Allow him to respond by making a choice and say to him, “OK, let's get some water." If you encourage this type of behavior it encourages your toddler to respond and participate in conversations, therefore his vocabulary will increase and so will his communication skills.

Your child will probably enjoy gesture games as well such as pat-a-cake and so-big, and identifying things, like body parts, pictures or objects, and familiar people. You can use questions like "Where's your ear?" "Show me the ball" and "Where is Mommy?"

Pronunciation may not be as clear as his communication since his vocabulary is growing at such a pace and most two year olds can be understood half the time. Repeating to him what he said with the correct pronunciation helps. Remember he is a toddler and “baby talk” is no longer cute.

Should parents be concerned if their child does not talk by a certain stage in his development or age?

How old was your child before you could understand him or her?

Do you have any concerns about your child?

In our next article we will be looking at some of these concerns so join in the conversation bellow with a comment or question since this is our topic for our next article.

You may also like to read:

Adriana Vermillion is the Founder and CEO of P.O.T.T."Y" Generation®, The Potty Whisperer™, a Lead Trainer and Parenting Coach with over sixteen years of experience in potty training special needs children and coaching parents. Adriana is an Author, Freelance Writer, and a frequent Motivational Speaker available for your event at

Refusing To Poop in The Potty

by Adriana Vermillion

Q: Our daughter is almost four and she is potty trained for the most part, however she seems to have a very hard time learning how to poop in the toilet. She can hold it all day or for as long as five days, however she seems to have terrible cramping and a very hard time most evenings due to her abdominal pain. We tried I believe everything that we know and it seems to be of no support.
Is our child normal? Please help us!

Michael and Denise
New York, NY

A: Michael and Denise,

I definitely believe your daughter is normal, and learning how to go poo in the toilet can be a big deal to many children especially as they get older. From your question I understand your daughter's age, the fact that she is not using the toilet regularly to eliminate her stools and I also understand your frustration and most likely worry.

I would have loved to know for how long this is been going on, and what are some measure you have already taken. In my profession as a professional potty trainer and parenting coach I have come across cases like your daughter's and after we ruled out a few things, we came to believe we were dealing with something called encopresis.

Encopresis affects one to four percent of children, and it may be undetected unless a doctor or potty training professionals directly asks about habits during potty training or toileting. It can very well be confused or misdiagnosed for constipation only and treated as such when in fact we are dealing with a child who may be emotionally upset, a child with a poor diet, a child lacking in physical activity, and more.

We work with children and parents who find themselves in this situation, create a custom plan and take it from all angles by developing a strategy to educate the parents, child and all involved in the child's life.

What we suggest for your daughter is to contact your pediatrician, get her checked and read all you can on encopresis, constipation and withholding.

Before you visit with your pediatrician I suggest you keep a daily journal of your daughter's food intake, liquid intake, activities, rest and potty breaks for at least three days. Your child's doctor will be able to have a proper diagnosis if he knows what your child's life is like.

At home or school have your daughter sit on the toilet at least twice a day for at least ten minutes each, preferably shortly after a meal. Think on how you can make this time pleasant; do not scold or criticize her if she is unable to have a bowel movement. Until the intestine and rectum regain their muscle tone, she may still have "accidents" and soil her underwear on occasion once the doctor prescribed the right care. If she is in pre-school or kindergarten she may be able to wear a disposable training pant until she regains bowel control. 
Taking a change of underwear and/or pants to school can help minimize her embarrassment and improve her self-esteem as bowel control improves.

If you would like to learn more about encopresis and steps you can take this may be a great resource. 

One of our contributing writers, Dimity Tefler is an encopresis survivor and she has great information and support to offer.

You may want to read:

Adriana Vermillion is the Founder and CEO of P.O.T.T."Y" Generation®, The Potty Whisperer™, a Lead Trainer and Parenting Coach with over sixteen years of experience in potty training special needs children and coaching parents. Adriana is an Author, Freelance Writer, and a frequent Motivational Speaker available for your event at

I'm An Encopresis Survivor

By Dimity Telfer

Hey there. For those that don't know me, my name is Dimity. I'm 27, an Australian, and an Encopresis survivor. Yes that's right. I had Encopresis personally, undiagnosed, until I was 15 years old.

I know what it's like to have no friends, being bullied and being told by my own parents that I'm an embarrassment to be around.

At my worst I wouldn't poop for up to 10 days, and constantly soiled my underwear. If you ever hear your child say that he/she can't feel/smell it, please believe it.

No one believed me, and for me it was the truth. My body wouldn't give me any indication that I "had to go", and couldn't smell anything at all, until it was much too late.

For many years Encopresis always felt like a curse. "If you're sorry, why do you keep doing it?" my mum constantly asked me. My answer was always the same, that I didn't know why and am incredibly sorry.

I always felt alone (especially having no friends to hang out with and no boyfriend that loves me for me).

There's also not a single celebrity that admits to having this condition (no role model to look up to). My confidence, self esteem and social confidence with my fellow peers wasn't very strong.

I created my blog over a year ago to help create awareness and support about this condition, specifically from an angle of being someone personally had it, and I am excited to be a part of P.O.T.T."Y" Generation as a contributing writer and support.

At the time, I was experiencing Encopresis, my parents didn't know what to do or what I had. Being in a remote town (and the Internet wasn't readily available and resourceful now as it was then), no support groups, no books, nothing. That's why I'm writing a book about my experiences, things I've learnt and other people's stories.

I know how much it is to be someone with this condition feeling alone and wondering if someone else has it (and if can get in touch).

I have an e-mail available on my blog that any parent or fellow Encopresis survivor/battler can use to keep in touch with me (especially when embarrassed for the world to know what's happening). I'm doing all I can to help parents and their families of this condition.

There really is light at the end of the tunnel. I know. I have gone through Encopresis and all the negativity that follows in it's stinky path...and survived.

I created the term "Encopresis survivor" to show strength. I want to turn this curse into a blessing. My self esteem and confidence has increased so much over the years and I'm doing things I never thought I would be doing (for example, performing aerials and a trainer at the local circus group). I have dreams to achieve. I have love to share.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. You are never alone anymore. I am here. I'm very happy to contribute here and share my experiences to help others.

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Potty Training a Strong Willed Child (Part 3)

By Adriana Vermillion



In Part One of “Potty Training a Strong Willed Child" and In Part 2, Daniel Wagner from Peaceful Parenting  shared with us his struggle along with Manda and Sophia regarding Potty Training.
This is a great example of a child who in my opinion is shy or slow to warm to the idea of change and more exact to potty training.

Experts say there are three broad categories of toddler personality:

- Easy or happy, but not full-tilt constantly
- Shy or slow to warm - often thoughtful and quiet
- Spirited (a nice term for "Get down off the refrigerator right now!")

When I am blessed to work with kids like Sophia, and parents like Daniel and Manda I know from the start that this is going to be a great challenge, and when I think of the challenge I do not think of Sophia, but instead of Daniel and Manda because parents, and especially parents who have more than one or two children think they got it when it comes to just about any milestones.

Thankfully that was not so with Manda and Daniel, as you can see from Part 1 they tried just about anything except Castor Oil with no lasting results, and that is because the shy child needs a lot of transition time from activity to activity and resists change, and will often study, with intensity, how a game is played before jumping in. Dr. Karp says, “Their motto is, 'When in doubt, don't!" 

The shy child is a gentle soul and should be protected from harsh criticism and ridicule. Rejection plays a very important role as well since it can make a shy child fearful and extra careful throughout life.

Parents need to offer children with this personality the stability and time to process the curve balls of life; they can't be rushed into anything and especially not potty training, however if the child is not potty trained at the right time and a parent will wait to long to start the process more problems can arise since a shy child tends to be busy in the developmental arena and they would rather not deal with something as difficult as potty training.

If Sophia was in my care, I would have given her a few weeks to learn about what is to come, teach her her role and make it a family adventure. A child like Sophia needs to feel safe, loved and accepted in her family environment, outside the home and especially in her imaginary world. 

If we go back to the part where her room odor took Daniel and Manda on a quest to find soiled clothing carefully tucked in under Sophia's mattress, in her dresser and on her shelves we see how shutting the door to the outside world Sophia found a way to deal with something she knew it was not ok, it was now a form of shame and if I may say fear. Sophia learned how to make it acceptable to herself and everyone else.

Children like Sophia have a gift in art, are able to see beauty beyond what a naked eye can see and they seem to be very gentle to animals and most people.

©Daniel Wagner
In our practice we offer custom potty training plans and while I can't say exactly how we would have worked with Sophia I can say for sure based on her personality that ones Sophia got what she needed, learned her role and was allowed to learn from some of her own mistakes, training could have been so much easier and shorter.

In our experience with children such as Sophia the initial training took about three weeks. After the
initial training (basic/moderate) a form of repetitive behavior or practice takes place for another four to six weeks until we can say Sophia is completely potty trained for night and day with very few or occasional accidents.

I would like to answer your specific questions so please comment bellow with your opinion on how Daniel and Manda finally managed to train Sophia without my help or another professional, and of course share with us your successes and struggles.

You can follow Daniel (@parent_progress) and I (@potty_whisperer) on Twitter. I am also on Facebook where conversations get to a whole new level.

Adriana Vermillion is the Founder and CEO of P.O.T.T."Y" Generation®, The Potty Whisperer™, a Lead Trainer and Parenting Coach with over sixteen years of experience in potty training special needs children and coaching parents. Adriana is an Author, Freelance Writer, and a frequent Motivational Speaker available for your event at