It is very important to determine when to start potty training since your child needs to be ready both physically and emotionally. Starting before your child has developed the necessary physical and cognitive skills will only prolong the process and frustrate both you and your child. Let your child set the pace and only start potty training when she is ready.
Each child is unique and should not be compared to others but most children are both physically and emotionally ready to be potty trained from 18 – 24 months. Boys are usually ready a little later than girls.
Many parents only start potty training when their children are 2 1/2 to 3 years old and some only start when their kids are 4. If you wait until your child is totally ready then your child is often potty trained in a much shorter period of time than when she isn’t completely ready.
Potty Readiness Checklist
The signs of potty training readiness
Your child seems interested in the potty, toilet or in wearing underwear instead of diapers. When children are ready they often start showing interest in using the potty. If your child signals that she wants to be independent then it is a good sign of readiness. If your child shows no interest in using the potty or becoming independent then the process might be a little more difficult.
Your child can understand and follow basic instructions. You will need to ask your child if she needs to go, remind her to go before you leave home, etc.
Your child can walk. Your child will need to be able to walk to the potty and sometimes will probably even need to run.
Your child stays dry during a nap or for at least two hours during the day. This shows that your child’s bladder muscles are sufficiently developed. If your child has not yet reached this stage it is more difficult to potty train her since she will be running to the potty all day.
Your child is capable of pulling his pants up and down. When he needs to go then he needs to go! If he can’t pull his pants up by himself then the chances are that he’ll wet his pants. In order to go in the potty he is going to have to be able to pull his pants down pretty quickly. In the beginning he will need some help but if he is not physically ready to pull his pants down he may not be ready to start potty training.
Your child signals when he needs to go. Some kids inform you (such as by letting you know that they will be pooping in their diaper) and some show you (by squatting, going to sit somewhere quiet, etc). No matter how they choose to signal, if your child is signaling then he is aware of his body’s functions. That’s a good sign that he’s ready for potty training.
Your child informs you when his diaper is wet or dirty. This shows that it bothers him to have a wet or soiled diaper which is a good sign of readiness.
If your child shows most of the signs of readiness then you can start the potty process. If not, it might be better to wait a little longer. Starter before your child is both emotionally and physically ready might cause both you and your child unnecessary frustration.
If your child is going to undergo a major change in her life (such as her parent’s divorce, moving house, etc) then it might be better to wait until things settle down before starting potty training.