Determining Potty Training Readiness – Is It Time for Your Child to Start?

Some parents are so tired of the diaper-changing process that they try to force their children into potty training before they are even ready to begin. Other parents are overly cautious about waiting for their children to show signs of readiness, so they end up starting the potty training process far too late. The result in either of these cases is complete failure and unnecessary stress on the child.

Potty Training ReadinessThere is a lot of debate over when children should begin training to use the potty, so how do you determine what is right for your child? You can avoid the drama that many parents experience by simply watching your child for signs of readiness. It is important that you do this for each child, since every person is different. One child may easily make the leap from diapers to potty before they turn two while another child shows no interest in the potty until they are three.

There are some general guidelines that may help you decide when to start talking to your child about potty training, but there are not set ages at which children should start potty training. It is well known that girls tend to step out of the diapers faster than boys, but there are exceptions. Boys are more likely to struggle with bowel control even after they have successfully trained to urinate in the potty. The most common age for potty training readiness is two.

Signs Your Child is Ready to Train

Now that you understand the importance of checking for potty training readiness, what specific signs may tell you that a child is ready to train? There are 14 common signs that you may notice, but your child may be ready without showing every sign on the list:

1. The child has developed consistent bathroom habits. Rather than having random bowel movements, this occurs at a predictable time most days.

2. The child stops dirtying his or her diaper during the night or naptime.

3. During the day, it is common for your child’s diaper to remain dry for three hours or longer on a regular basis.

4. Your child discusses issues related to potty training and understands the concept of going potty. This includes understanding the connection between keeping their pants dry and going to the potty.

5. Your child shows signs that they acknowledge their need to use the bathroom and/or alerts an adult when they dirty their diaper.

6. Your child understands basic terminology related to potty training, such as dry vs. wet, potty, pee and poop.

7. The child is becoming more independent and wants to do things on their own.

8. The child understands what you want them to do when you say something like, “Come on! Let’s go potty!”

9. The child is physically capable of pulling pants and underwear up and down.

10. The child wants to copy what they see their parents or other family members doing.

11. When watching someone else use the restroom, the child asks questions and seems interested.

12. The child shows an interest in washing their hands or flushing the toilet.

13. The child seems eager to please adults and do what is asked of them.

14. The child understands that belongings should be placed in their proper place and shows a desire to put things away and do things properly.

You don’t need to check off every item on this list to determine that your child is ready to start potty training. If you are uncertain, start introducing books and videos related to the subject or bring in the potty seat to see how your child reacts. If your child still seems unwilling to do anything you ask them to do, you may want to wait until they are out of that disobedient phase.

While waiting to see the signs of readiness, you can encourage readiness in your child. For instance, they may never show you their interest in flushing the toilet or reading on the potty if you don’t give them access to the bathroom.

Now that you know what signs you are looking for, you can do things differently in your home to check for your child’s readiness.

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