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How Do You Know When it is Time to Potty Train a Toddler

By Edited Dec 3, 2015 0 0

Signals it is Time to Ditch Those Diapers

Time to Potty Train
How do you know when to start potty training girls and boys? This is the topic that this article is going to explore. My daughter is about to turn two years old this week and SHE is getting interested in the toilet training. My wife and I are very excited about this as you can imagine. NO MORE DIAPERS! Although I am sure it won’t be that easy. The task of toilet training readiness as well as toddler potty training problems that might be met got me doing some research on how do you know when it is time to potty train a toddler. I thought I would share what I have found.

Firstly, there is no right age to begin the move away from diapers and into the world of potty training and pull-ups. Every toddler will develop along his or her own timeline. There are a few things that a parent can think about and look for to decide if it is the time to begin potty training. The physiological development of the child is a must, motor skills must be present for the basic tasks of going to the bathroom vocabulary and understanding have to be at a level that the boy or girl can follow the process and the emotional and social awareness have to be present.

Physiological Developement

Does the toddler have control?

The physiological development is the most important. If the bladder and bowel control are not present when one begins to potty train, it will ultimately end in failure. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children’s elimination muscles reach full maturity somewhere between 12-24 months”. There are signs that arise to know that a child  is capable of controlling the elimination functions: hiding when the urge comes, squatting and grunting; are all signs that a child is aware that they are going to go to the bathroom. Bowel movements will slow through the night; this is a sign that the sphincter has started to develop. The toddler will start to have dry diapers for extended periods of time including through naps and even the entire night. There will also be some regularity to the timing of the baby poop. These are all signs that will let you know that the child is physically ready.

Motor Skills

Motor skills readiness will show when the toddler can dress and undress his or her self. This includes the ability to pull up and down underpants and of course the ability to pull up and down pants. A must step in going to the bathroom on ones own!

Verbal and Cognitive Readiness

Verbal and cognitive readiness presents itself in the child's ability to understand the potty training steps as well as the vocabulary: pee, poo, potty, toilet, underwear, etc… The toddler be able to follow instructions. The child will also be beginning to imitate and model the behavior of siblings, cousins, playmates and parents.

Emotional and Social Awareness

Lastly the child needs to have the emotional and social awareness to handle the toilet training experience. The toddler needs to have the wish to succeed. If your toddler is stating “I can do it” and “I am a big girl/boy”, chances are they are aware and want to go ahead!

Now Is the Right Time to Potty Train a Toddler!

If these examples sound familiar to you then your child is probably ready to take the potty training plunge. Remember to have a sense of humor and keep a positive attitude. It will make the process easier on you and your infant. Schedule potty breaks: right after awakening from naps, after meals, before car trips and of course before naps and night-time. Be sure to give verbal praise and let your child know that if it is an unsuccessful attempt at going to the bathroom it is ok to try again later.  

Bathroom Accident
When an accident happens, and they will happen as one of the many toddler potty training problems, remember the humor and positive attitude! The toddler is already embarrassed enough from the experience. Try to comfort them and let them know that the next attempt will be better. Continue to work towards full toilet training.

If the child resists the training after a few weeks do not force it. Take a break and try again later, now is just not the correct time to start toilet training your boy or girl.

This is how you will know when it is time to potty train a toddler!

Next step: Boys and Girls training potty seats and toilet trainers!



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  1. "When to Start Potty Training? What is the Right Age for Potty Training?." Potty Training Concepts. 30/04/2012 <Web >
  2. "Potty Training: How to get the job done." Mayo Clinic. 30/04/2012 <Web >

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