It seems like it was yesterday you changed your first diaper, and you are ready to change your last one. Could it be time to start potty training with your toddler? Hopefully so! A lot of parents believe that their child should be potty trained by a specific age, but that’s a dangerous mindset. There’s no magical age when kids become ready, every child develops differently. Starting before they are ready doesn’t mean you’ll finish sooner, it just means the process will take longer. So, how do you know if your baby is ready to start potty training? By looking out for these signs.
1. He is physically ready
Even if your child is expressing interest and really wants to learn, if they are not physically able to control their bladder, you won’t see results and everybody will end up frustrated. Some signs that the child is physically ready are fairly regular bowel movements, staying dry for at least two hours and urinating a fair amount every time, and being fairly coordinated in general.
2. She is behaviorally ready
Every child gives out behavioral cues that let you know when they might be ready to start potty training. For example, if the kid is already able to sit quietly in the same spot for five minutes, if they can pull their pants up and down and if they give out physical or verbal cues before they pee or poo (like making a noise, stopping and squatting or even telling you), you are already halfway there, all you need to do is add a potty to the mix.
3. He is mentally ready
There are several cognitive signs that tell you when your toddler may be ready to start potty training. If the child doesn’t have words for “pee” and “poo”, than it might not be a good idea to start, for example. Other common signs include the ability to follow simple orders (“pick up the toy”, “go get the book”, etc.) and understanding the importance of putting things in their place. It is also important that the child recognizes the physical signals that mean he has to go to the bathroom, so they can tell you in advance and even hold it until they can go.
4. She really wants to learn
Even if a child checks every other box, if she doesn’t want to learn, she’s not really ready and you won’t see results. Signs of interest include being uncomfortable and disliking the feeling of a wet diaper and being curious about other bathroom habits. For example, if she wants to watch you use the toilet or if she wants to wear underwear. Not being afraid of the toilet is another big one, as it’s outright saying that they want to learn. Other favorable signs are feeling proud of her accomplishments and a desire for independence.