Is My Child Ready to Be Toilet Trained?

Is it time to toilet train my child? How will I know if my son or daughter is ready?  Are there certain signs I should be looking for before we get started?  

These are burning questions that many parents ask themselves as their child enters toddlerhood.  Research indicates that most children are ready to start potty training between 27 and 34 months of age, but each child is different.  How do you really know when your child is ready?  

Maybe your son or daughter asks to go to the bathroom occasionally.  Maybe he has sat on the toilet and peed right before a nap or bath time.  Perhaps she asks to pee when she first wakes up in the morning.

I recently spoke to 3 parents about their children and they each shared a different experience:

“I’ve noticed that my 2½-year-old son squats down, then touches his pants. When I check him, he’s wet…”

“My 27-month-old son hides behind the chair to poop. When I approach him, he tells me to go away…”

“My 32-month-old daughter asks to sit on the toilet like her big sister, but she still doesn’t pee or poop unless she’s wearing a diaper…”

While there isn’t a magic age at which children are ready to learn to use the potty, there are physical and cognitive signs that many children will show when they are capable and ready to begin their adventure.

These signs include following simple instructions, pulling up and pulling down their pants, tugging at or touching a wet or dirty diaper, hiding to urinate or have a bowel movement, showing interest in others’ use of the toilet or copying their behavior, and showing signs of wanting to be more independent.  When children have dry diapers for around 2 hours, awaken dry from a nap, or tell you that they are about to go, are going, or have just gone in their diaper, they are showing signs of readiness.

Unfortunately, your child is not likely to wake up one day and say, “I’m ready to wear underpants” or  “I want to start peeing in the toilet.”  More often than not, parents have to lead the process. Waiting for your child to ask for the potty often leads to trouble, since delaying toilet training for too long can make the process more challenging.  Going from wearing a cozy diaper to using the toilet is a huge transition for children. If you’re noticing some of these signs, praise your child. Talk to them about the process, include them in some of the decisions, and encourage them along the way.

Once you have determined that your child is ready, make sure you are ready, too!  Toilet training requires time, energy, and patience, especially in the early stages.  While there may never be an ideal time in your busy life to start training, try to avoid excessive stressors or disruptions to your schedule, such as moving, a change in your childcare arrangements, the birth of another child, a vacation, or dealing with an illness or death of a loved one.

Remember, you are on this journey together.  The best way to set yourself and your child up for success is to make sure you are both ready.  If you decide you would like additional support, contact the team at Bright Side of the Moon today!