How Will You Know When To Start Potty Training

when to start potty training

Potty training! Are you looking forward to the process, or are you dreading it? Moms may look forward to the day when they do not carry a diaper bag everywhere, and dads may be as happy not to have a turn at changing smelly diapers.  

Potty training is the golden ticket to an independent child that walks into the bathroom and uses the toilet. Some parents are surprised at how long the process may take, while for others, it is a breeze. Why? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your little one will indicate their readiness to start potty training, and each child is different.   

In this article, you may find the answers to questions about when to start potty training and when not to, what are the readiness signs, and how to potty train your children.  

How Do You Know Your Child Is Ready To Potty Train?  

When do you know your kid is ready for potty training? According to the experts, the best time is when the child is ready, which may be later than when a parent wants it to happen. Deciding the child is ready according to their age, is not always the wisest choice; other factors that come into play determine your child’s readiness, irrespective of the child’s age. Potty training is personal, and the signs of readiness for the potty is unique to every child. Potty training success depends on the child’s readiness, not a specific age or parents’ desire.  

The dilemma is that toddlers are at 18 months old physiological ready for potty training. Although their bladder and bowel movement may have matured, a child’s motor skills may not be developed enough to manage the process from knowing how to recognize the urge, pull clothes on and off, to sit on the potty, and allow the process to be completed.  

Mentally the child may also not be mature enough. They may not associate using a potty with a full bladder or forget to use the potty when the need arises. Children under two years of age may easily be distracted and forget to complete the toilet or potty process. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in addition to being cognitively ready and having the motor skills, the child’s emotional, social, and verbal readiness is important. Your toddler should have the desire for independence and self-mastery, have an awareness of how other people use the toilet, and should be able to comprehend a parent’s explanation of toilet training.  

Some children may start at 18 months, and others may only be ready at three years old. Do not rush it, and do not delay unnecessarily. Wait for the signs your toddler will give that they are ready.  

What Are Some Telltale Signs My Child Is Ready To Potty Train?  

Here is a checklist of 8 questions experts like the Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest parents can ask to discern their child’s readiness for potty training.  

  • Does your child have bowel movements and bladder control? Can your child stay dry for at least two hours and has dry periods during naps? 
  • Does a wet or dirty diaper bother your child? Your child may pull at it, ask you to take the diaper off, or try to remove it themselves.   
  • Does your toddler understand the terms pee or poop, and can they put into words their need for using the potty?  
  • Does your child connect the urge to pee or poop with going to use the potty? Does your child tell you when they want to go or use body language like fidgeting or going to a corner?  
  • Can your child follow basic instructions?  
  • Do they copy your bathroom behavior or are interested in people going to the bathroom?  
  • Can your child sit on the potty seat and get up without help?  
  • Can your child pull their clothes, diapers, underwear, or training pants up and down? 

If most of your answers to these questions are yes, your child could be ready to be trained. Bear in mind; these are indicators. The most significant sign is probably when your child starts showing an interest and want to be trained.   

when to start potty training

What Are Some Steps You Can Take To Prepare Your Toddler For Potty Training? 

Parents may start preparing their children for using the potty before they indicate their readiness. Then the child knows what to expect, and they adapt easier to the toilet training process. Help the child understand before initializing physical toilet training. The more familiar the child is with the concepts, the easier the potty training will be.  

  • Use nappy changes to talk to your child about it and explain what a wet nappy means.  
  • Familiarize them with the terms you want to use for the bodily functions. Pee and poop are easy words they can remember and say.  
  • By changing diapers in the bathroom, the child may start associating it with going to the bathroom and using the toilet.  
  • Teach them to wash their hands and let them help you flush the toilet.  
  • Place a potty chair where your child can see it and explain to the child what it is used for. Allow your child to sit on the potty fully clothed so that they get used to the idea.  
  • Let them sit on the potty chair to get used to it. When you ready the child for bed, dressing them or changing the nappy are excellent times for them to practice sitting on the potty chair. 

How Do I Start Potty Training?  

Understanding the Toilet 

Make sure your child understands the whole process before you start the physical training. Toilet training begins by explaining the different steps in the process. These steps include discussing  

  • undressing of clothing,  
  • when to go to the bathroom, 
  • the process of going,  
  • toilet paper and wiping,  
  • dressing afterward,  
  • flushing the toilet, and  
  • washing of hands.  

Success lies in your child, understanding the use of the toilet. If a parent accomplishes that, the achievement is at hand; the child may quickly master the toilet or potty when the terms and equipment are familiar to them.   

Mastering the Toilet 

When parents potty train or toilet train their kids, they go through the process alongside their child. They experience successes and accidents as intense as their children do.  

Most children may prefer a potty chair because their feet are safely on the floor. Children could be reluctant to pass stool, and inadequate support for their feet may make them even more hesitant. Holding bowel movements back may cause constipation. A toilet is big and high for a little one; a child may fear falling off, which may hinder the training process. Use a toilet seat or toilet ring to make it more comfortable and secure for your child.  

Allow your child to inspect the potty chair and become comfortable sitting on the potty. If your child is hesitant, do not pressure them. Wait until they are ready and introduce the potty chair again. Do not force any part of the process on the child; it will only extend the training time.   

Start training with the bowel movement; it is simpler for the child to understand the stool concept than urine in the diaper. Help your child understand by taking the stool from their diaper and placing it in the potty or the toilet. The child may connect the dots and understand where stool should go. If you use a toilet for training, let your child flush the toilet.  

Next, motivate your child to sit without the diaper on the potty chair or toilet. Change the child’s diaper when sitting on the potty and drop the stool in the potty.  

Train your child to flush the toilet and wash their hands every time they sit on the potty or toilet, even if they did not do anything. It will help establish a hygiene routine.  

Remember to praise potty successes and have patience with your little one. Transitioning from diapers or training pants to a potty is a drastic change in your child’s life.  

Tips for Potty Training Success 

Mayo Clinic’s article gives some ideas on how parents may assist the child and accomplish potty training success: 

  • Be consistent with the words you use to describe the urinary and bowel movement. The child may learn the vocabulary and communicate with you in like manner.  
  • Place the potty chair where your child spends most of their time; it does not have to be the bathroom in the beginning. When you start teaching the child a routine, it may be best to move the potty to the bathroom then.   
  • Create a routine. Create a routine by having your child sit on the potty first thing in the morning, after a nap, and every two hours. 
  • When your child says or physically indicates they want to go, stop immediately what they are doing and take them to the toilet or potty chair.   
  • Explain hygiene when using the potty and washing of their hands when they get up from the potty or toilet.  
  • Stop using the diapers when your child stays dry and successfully uses the potty for a few weeks. Transition to training pants, pul-ups, or cotton underwear and make it a special moment to celebrate. 
  • Dress your child in clothing that your child can independently dress and undress themselves.  
  • Separate daytime and nighttime potty training as two seperate learning curves. Continue to use diapers or training pants at night until your child stays dry or wakes up when they need to go.  

What to Avoid When Potty Training  

  • To train, potty, or toilet use, parents should approach it the same as any other skill your child learns during their growing up process. Keep in mind each child is different, and accidents are going to happen.  
  • Sometimes a parent’s desire for potty training is stronger than the child’s, which may lead to conflict situations if the child is pushed into learning before they are ready. Wait until your child is ready.  
  • Avoid emotional displays, especially anger, disappointment, or impatience. It may demotivate the child or create a stubbornness to no do what the parents want. 
  • Controlling their bodies and their world is vital to a toddler. One way they express this control is by refusing something that the parent wants them to do. If the toddler picks up that you are keen that they learn to use the toilet, the child may express their desire for control by refusing to comply.    
  • Pushing the potty-training process when your child is not ready, may cause a more extended training process, harm the parent-child relationship, and other physical implications like constipation. If the child holds back, it may cause constipation. The child may then associate pain and unpleasantness with using the potty chair or toilet and may resist even more. If this happens, go back to the diaper until your child is ready again. Avoid your child experience reverting to the diaper as a shameful act or as punishment.  

When Should I Delay Starting Training?  

If your child is reluctant or circumstances may cause additional stress, it is best to delay toilet training. The potty-training process may take longer to reach success when your child is not co-operating and unwilling. Examples of situations that may cause stress are: 

  • The transition from crib to bed could be all-grown-up excitement but also stressful without the crib rails’ comfort and security.  
  • If mom is pregnant or a new baby was recently born, delay the training until the child adapts to the new family member and the new household routine.  
  • Moving is stressful to adults and children. Delay potty training until everyone is settled in the new home.  
  • Changing the existing childcare arrangement or starting childcare is also an essential change in your child’s life that may cause stress. 
  • Any family crisis, including major illness or death, will be stressful for all family members. 

When To Start Potty Training – Resources For More Info

Here are some other information from around the web that can go more in-depth about gleaning when it’s time to start.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/potty-training/art-20045230#:~:text=Many%20children%20show%20signs%20of,longer%20to%20train%20your%20child

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/toilet-training/Pages/How-to-Tell-When-Your-Child-is-Ready.aspx

https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/toilet-learning

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