When is your child ready to start potty training?

Is it toilet training time? Learn tips to help your child be successful

Mother Potty Training Her Son

Imagining your child using the toilet independently is exciting in many ways. Yet, many parents question both when and how to start toilet training their toddler. The answer is, it depends!

Toilet training readiness varies from child to child, typically around 2 to 3 years of age. Let your child show you when they are ready to begin training. Be patient: Toilet training often takes three to six months to accomplish. If your child feels hurried or pressured throughout the toilet training process, they may become stressed. Stress can lead to unwanted power struggles.

Signs your child may be ready to start toilet training

  • Has a dry diaper for at least two hours during the daytime
  • Has dry diapers after naptime or overnight
  • Sits on or plays with the toilet or potty chair
  • Is uncomfortable having a wet or dirty diaper
  • Tries to take off wet or dirty diapers
  • Talks about or points to the toilet when watching others
  • Has the motor skills to sit on and get off the toilet or toilet training chair

The do’s of toilet training

If your child is ready to start toilet training:

  • Be casual and matter-of-fact about the toilet learning process.
  • Dress your child in easy-to-remove pants.
  • Read storybooks about learning to use the toilet.
  • Allow your child to flush the toilet. (Some children are afraid of flushing.)
  • Encourage your child’s learning progress, even if it’s just telling you “I have to go potty” after a wet diaper has occurred.
  • Reassure your child when accidents happen. This helps your child believe “I can do it.”
  • Plan for frequent trips to the toilet. Children may need to go to the bathroom up to 10 times a day.

The don’ts of toilet training

If your child is struggling with toilet training:

  • Don’t begin training with new stressors in the home such as moving, a new baby, a family illness, etc.
  • Don’t discipline your child for accidents.
  • Don’t force your child to sit on the toilet.
  • Don’t compare your child to other children; ignore stories about how early another child was trained.

Just like learning to walk and talk, using the toilet will happen when your toddler is ready. When the physical body is ready and your child has the desire, they will learn to use the toilet. Helping your child through toilet training takes time and patience. 

If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s development, talk with your child’s health care provider.

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Posted In Children's, Parenting

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