Joys of Parenting

Signs That Your Child is Ready to Begin Potty Training

Potty training can be a very frustrating time for parents, not to mention their children! Determining whether or not your child is ready is not an exact science. Many parents wonder what the right age is to start potty training. The answer to this is almost impossible.

Although the usual age to begin potty training is between two and three years, it is different for every child. Instead of going by the calendar, parents should look for certain signs that their toddler is ready to tackle the potty.

- Able to Follow Simple Directions

For most normal adults, using the toilet is an easy, mindless task. To us, it's just something that we have to do. We never think about all of the small steps required to complete this task that we've been doing for so long.

For a toddler, though, this is a seemingly impossible task at times. It requires a series of steps, and they have to learn all of these steps. If your toddler has trouble following a simple set of directions, he may not be ready to start potty training yet.

- Shows an Interest in Toilet, Potty Chair, or Your Bathroom Habits

If your toddler has begun to show an interest in bathroom duties, the time to begin potty training is either here or right around the corner. They may show a fascination in the toilet by flushing it, or may love their potty chair and sit on it all the time. This shows an interest, and it is a good sign that your toddler is ready to go potty like big people.

While it may seem a little uncomfortable or odd, letting your child watch you do your business is important. If they insist on being in the bathroom with you, don't argue. Instead, talk to them about each step required in the process. Even though you may think that each step is just plain common sense, they don't see it that way. Remember that they need to learn, and you need to teach.

- Dry Diaper After Waking Up

Around the age that most children start potty training is usually the time that their bladder capacity increases. They can go longer and longer stretches of time before they need to urinate since their bladder can hold more.

If your toddler wakes up from a nap dry, or wakes up dry in the morning dry a few days a week, this may be a sign that they are ready for potty training. The need to go "pee pee" is less frequent and will result in less accidents.

- Seems Uncomfortable With a Dirty Diaper

Your child may seem uncomfortable in a dirty diaper, or he may outright tell you - one way or another - that he doesn't like it. Some children will even take their diapers off, much to the dismay of their parents.

If this is the case, your child is finally learning the difference between the feeling of a dirty diaper and a dry diaper. They know that it feels bad or yucky, and will want to get rid of this feeling, so there is more chance that they will want to learn to go on the potty.

- Regular and Predictable Bowel Movements

Some children may have a bowel movement two or three times per day, while others may go a day or two without one. All children are different in this aspect, but if bowel movements are easily predicted, it may be time to introduce the potty.

While bowel movements that you can set your watch by are not really a necessity, it does make potty training easier. If you know about when your child is ready to go "poo poo," it can make knowing when to sit them on the potty much easier. This will also result in less accidents, and less frustrations that they can't go.

- Walking and Running Well, and Able to Dress Themselves

Small children are not able to "hold it" for very long. Many times, the urge to go potty comes on quite suddenly. Although having a bathroom within a few steps at all times is ideal, this is not always the case. Often, they will have to run to make it to the potty in time. If they can't make it to a toilet in time, this can lead to an accident, and possibly tears.

Since they aren't able to hold it for long periods of time, toddlers should be able to pull up and pull down their pants quickly. Not being able to pull down their pants in time can be very frustrating, and they may not make it onto the toilet in time.