Timing Your Potty Training Adventure

When to Start Potty TrainingIt is a given that you must consider your child’s readiness as you decide when to start potty training. If you see signs that they are interested in the potty and are more aware of bodily sensations related to potty training, you may be eager to get started. Before you rush forward, there are some things to consider beyond your child’s readiness.

A Calm Period

You don’t want to start potty training at the end of the year in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations, Christmas parties and visits from family members. You also don’t want to potty train during a period of high activity or tense conflict. Your child needs a calm environment with a lot of time to simply hang around the house with the potty waiting nearby.

If you are distracted or feel pulled in a million directions, your child will also feel scattered and unfocused on potty training. Wait until you can give your child your complete attention and create a calm home environment without running out for errands. A long weekend away from work is the perfect opportunity to get the process started.

Parental Readiness

Once you start potty training, you will need to remain consistent so your child has no doubt what you expect of them and how the process works. This means your readiness is just as important as your child’s readiness. You need to potty train when you feel focused, energetic and up for the challenge. The fewer distractions you have in your life the better, but you may have to create fewer distractions if your life is super busy.

How do you create fewer distractions? You can take an extended weekend away from work and clear your family’s schedule to get started. Make sure there are no vacations or important appointments that will drag you away from your child during this time. Commit fully to giving your child a good start to the process before life gets busy again.

One Challenge at a Time

Only give your child one big challenge at a time. This means you do not want to start potty training while trying to wean your child away from the bottle or into his or her own bed at night. These major transitions in life are stressful and may be confusing for your child. If you throw in even more life change, they are less likely to respond to any of it in a positive manner. If now is the time to potty train, leave those other changes for later.

Mark Your Calendar

Once you decide a period of time that is good for your schedule, mark it on the calendar. This is your appointment with your child, and you can get excited about spending this special time just with your little boy or girl. If you are flexible on time, allow your child to select a date on the calendar. Mark that day and allow him or her to get excited about the upcoming training appointment.

Should You Wait?

Deciding when to start potty training is sometimes difficult. If you know your child is ready to learn right now but you are about to go on vacation, do you need to wait until vacation is over? What about a child who is overly eager to explore the potty? Will they lose interest if you put it off until a better time in your life?

Most children require at least a few months of consistent training before they are completely potty trained. It can take six months or longer for some children to fully grasp the concept and take control of their potty behaviors. This means you are not going to fully conquer potty training in one long weekend.

The idea is to set aside a short period of time during which you can focus completely on potty training. Introduce the process during this time, and then remain consistent with training until your child is fully trained. If you can find a couple days right now to get the process started and your child is ready to learn, then go for it.

If you know you are distracted and cannot give your child the focus they need to get started, then you may allow them to explore the potty when possible while putting off serious training for later. Your child will need to learn a completely new skill set in order to use the potty independently. Besides understanding what the potty is used for, they must also learn how to physically control their bodies to make it happen at the right moment. This is challenging and sometimes stressful for a child.

Most children learn these new skills in the following order:

    1. Bowel regularity
    2. Bowel control
    3. Daytime bladder control
    4. Nighttime bladder control

Some children will reach some of these milestones simultaneously. Others will take some time between milestones. Every child is different, and you will notice that siblings are quite different in how they learn to potty.

You must decide how aggressive you are in the training process, and that my be determined by your child’s attitude or interest in the potty. If you take a laid back approach, make sure your child still understands what is expected of them when you start potty training.

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