For most parents, it’s hard to know when to start potty training their toddler. Your child sometimes tells you, of course. You regale them with stories of the giant prizes that’ll appear once they use the toilet and, suddenly, they’re ready to pee and poop on demand.
But how do you know when a child’s truly ready? You must look for signs, both the obvious (actual signs that read “Will Tinkle in Toilet for Toys”) and the much subtler.
So, start with the following:
1. They have fewer wet diapers:
If your child is peeing in their diaper on a regular schedule, and only every few hours, there’s a good chance they’re ready to give the toilet a whirl. This is a sign they’re beginning to regulate, which is important for bladder control.
2. Their bowel movements are predictable:
A child who poops on schedule gives you the advantage of pulling out the potty before anything happens. If you know your child always poops around eight a.m., you know to be ready with the toilet. This boosts the likelihood of potty training success.
3. They’re able to undress themselves:
Using the toilet requires more dexterity than using a diaper. For one thing, children must be able to remove their clothing. Once your child can do this, they’re potty prepared.
4. They understand directions:
Some toddlers look at you like they have no idea what you’re talking about. That never really changes in regards to children – teenagers do this too! But if your toddler can follow simple directions – things like “go potty” and “sit down” – it’s time to ditch the diapers.
5. They can sit for several minutes:
Before placing your toddler on a toilet, make sure they can sit still. You don’t want to let your child use the potty if they’re going to get up and run out the door mid-poop.
6. They want independence:
If your child is walking around the house singing, “I am toddler here me roar!” you know they’re craving independence. Children who want a promotion to head of the household are more likely to take to toilet training than those who are fine being treated like babies.
7. They complain about being wet:
If you have a kid who dislikes being wet in a diaper, they’re ready for underwear.
8. They’re curious about the bathroom:
If your child asks questions about the bathroom – where the toilet paper goes when they flush, why people have to go, whether mommy or daddy pee and poop – they’re exhibiting a curiosity that suggests they’re ready to toilet train. Kids want to be like their parents and, if they see you out of diapers (hopefully you are!), they’ll want to be as well.
9. They tell you they need to go:
Maybe the surest sign that your toddler is ready to use the toilet is the easiest: they tell you. Once kids learn how to express the desire to go, turn them loose and allow them to achieve their porcelain dreams.
Potty training is a test of parental fortitude, but it’s nothing patience and Clorox can’t fix. The easiest way to assure a smooth transition from diaper to potty and never back again is to make sure your child’s really ready to sit on their throne and reign over the land of laminate tile.