There is no perfect time or magic age for parents to start potty training. Every child matures at his own pace, and it’s important to keep this in mind as you begin thinking about potty training yours. Before you begin on the potty training journey, you should first be sure that your child is both physically and emotionally ready. For many children, this occurs sometime around the age of two, either when they are in daycare or about to begin preschool. If the child is not showing signs of readiness, potty training may lead to more frustration than success.
Here are some tell-tale signs that your child may be ready to be potty trained.
Signs That Your Child Is Ready for Potty Training
- Pulling or picking at diapers. This is a behavioral sign that indicates your child doesn’t like the feeling of a wet or dirty diaper.
- Ability to pull pants up and down. This is necessary if you want your child to be able to use the potty on his own.
- Diapers remain dry for a longer than usual amount of time. This is a sign that bladder muscles are developed enough to hold urine. For example, if she takes a nap and wakes up with a dry diaper, it is a clear sign that her bladder muscles are ready for potty training.
- Showing interest in others’ bathroom usage. He may watch you go to the bathroom, or even try copying you.
- Has her own words that she uses when she talks about urine and stool.
- Has his own way of telling you that he’s about to go, or even telling you that he has just gone in his diaper. These may be verbal or physical signals.
- Understands the concept of putting things where they belong. For instance, that urine and stool belong in the toilet.
- Indicates an eagerness for independence. This is a very important sign that shows your child is emotionally ready to begin the potty training journey.
At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we work closely with parents to help each child achieve this important milestone. Unlike many other daycares and preschools, we prefer to base potty training on individual signs of readiness. When children ask to go to the potty, or begin to exhibit signs of readiness such as staying dry, motioning or telling a teacher before or after they’ve soiled their diaper, it is often the best time to encourage the potty training process. Often, this occurs around 24-26 months.
During this period, our teachers frequently ask the children if they need or want to go potty – sometimes they say yes and sometimes they may still say no. If the child has been exhibiting signs of readiness, they may be encouraged to sit on the potty for a few minutes just to be sure. As the child becomes more comfortable using the potty, the teachers will encourage them to go more often. Once the child is using the bathroom regularly, teachers will communicate with parents and encourage them to have their child begin wearing underwear to school.
Parents may have to try more than once, but should not lose hope. It’s not uncommon for a child who resists potty training one month to more easily transition to using the toilet the next month. With patience and persistence, and the help of your daycare or preschool, your child will successfully make the transition!
More in this series: The Basics of Potty Training, How to Make Potty Training Fun