When to Start Potty Training

Potty training is an important developmental milestone for your tiny toddler, but it can be quite difficult to know how to begin. Reluctance on the part of your child and backwards steps can be causes of vexation for parents and guardians. Learning to read your child’s signals and adopting some simple strategies can take the stress out of toilet training.

When Should I Start Potty Training?

The timing of potty training can be an issue of some contention and will differ from child to child. You must consider your child’s emotional and physical readiness, not just their age. Many children are not ready to start potty training until 30 months, whereas some may begin toileting before their second birthday, but generally 22 to 30 months of age is the most common time to begin toilet training.

It is important to consider each child’s readiness individually and take into account their differing developmental progress. Some children have the physical ability to begin potty training, but not the emotional maturity. Your child must actually want to use the potty or toilet in order for the training to be successful. Being emotionally ready can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, such as the aspirational desire to wear underpants, or talking of being “grown up” or a “big kid.” Potty training before your child is ready can be a frustrating and ultimately fruitless venture.

Signs That Your Child Is Ready for Potty Training:

  • Your child tries to tell you that their nappy or diaper is wet or soiled.
  • Your child shows an interest in the potty chair or the toilet.
  • You child can follow and understand simple instructions with minimal difficulty.
  • Your child is visibly uncomfortable being left in a soiled or wet diaper and becomes fidgety or distressed within a short period of time.
  • Your child experiences dry periods of 2 or more hours during the day.
  • You child wakes from nap time with a dry nappy or diaper.
  • Your child is able to pull their pants down enough to use the potty or toilet and is then able to pull them back up or on again.

How to Start Potty Training

Besides knowing when to start potty training, you should also know how. It is important to be consistent, considerate and patient in your approach to potty training, so it is important to sit down and work out how you will go about it. Steps to start potty training your toddler:

1. Have a Plan

Planning beforehand will keep you calm and focused on the potentially vexing road ahead. Working out when you will persist and when to quit is important, as your child is developing a routine. This is for your own sanity as well as the potty training success of your toddler.

2. Get Your Child Ready

Be aware that this is a big step to get used to the idea of sitting on the potty for your toddler.Keep the potty in your bathroom before training, and encourage your child to sit on the pottywith or without a diaper or nappy to take away any fear of this strange new object. You may also want to provide clues as to the potty’s eventual use by depositing the contents of a dirty diaper in the bowl or let your child see family members on the toilet.

3. Encourage, but Do Not Push

Positivity is the key with potty training. Don’t push the point. The worst thing you can do with this potentially stressful process is to pressure your child to potty train where he or she is saying no, or refusing to comply with any toileting requests. Remember to be patient and supportive with encouraging words and understanding.

4. Think About Incentives

Using positive reinforcementsuch as rewards to show your child the benefits of mastering such a grown-up daily task can be very effective. A simple treat at morning or afternoon tea, stickers on a chart or an extra story can go a long way. Just ensure that your child is aware of the reward and its connection to their potty training.

5. Praise Your Child

Your words as a parent mean a lot to your little one, and letting them know how proud you are of them for trying so hard will boost their confidence to try again! Think about the different words you can use to express this such as “Wow, you are so clever using the toilet just like big kids do!” or “Great try!” if a toilet trip is less successful.

6. Be Prepared for Accidents

Accept that this is a big step for your child and that it may not come easily to them. There will be slip ups, miscommunications and near misses, but it is important not to let them frustrate or distress you. Console your toddler and make sure that any accident is treated calmly.

7. More Tips on Potty Training

  • Get dad involved: It can be hugely beneficial, especially for little boys to get their dad’s perspective of going to the toilet. Supportive grandparents can also be great for potty training.
  • Little white lies can help: Sometimes it can help to smooth over the truth to avoid embarrassing or upsetting your child during this delicate process. Such occasions could be public accidents or near misses when the truth could be devastating to your child’s toilet training efforts and confidence.
  • Naked potty use: Naked potty use can take away the stress of accidently soiling clothes and remove potential visual barriers that could impair your child’s ability to see what they are actually doing when they use the toilet. Children are often able to get more comfortable using the potty in the nude.
  • Makepotty training fun: Use music, toilet side books and stickers to make going to the toilet a positive experience!
  • Choose proper pants: The simple act of choosing your child’s first pair of big kid underpants can be a huge motivator for them. Consider taking them shopping to pick some out.
  • Stop using nappies: It is much more effective to deal with any accidents as they happen than to rely on nappies or diapers to save the day. Children are less likely to feel a sense of urgency to make the move to the toilet if they know that there is a diaper there anyway.

Want to know how this mom potty trained her little girl? Check out this video:

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