It probably seems like just yesterday you were changing your child’s first diaper and now you’re wondering if it’s time for one of the biggest milestones in your child’s development: potty training. There’s no exact age in which all children are ready for potty training, but you can expect to see some emerging readiness signs starting as early as age 24 months to 40 months.
How do I know if my child is ready?
Your child may show signs of interest in the toilet, and they may not. Every child is different, but here are some common signs that may indicate your child is ready:
- Noticing when they are wet
- Waking up dry
- Showing an interest in the toilet
If the answer is yes, great! But if the answer is no to some or all of these, that’s okay too. Here are some ideas you can implement to help their potty-training journey along:
Tip 1: Change all diapers in the bathroom so your child gets used to this environment. (And, if your child likes flushing the toilet, consider allowing them to flush to signify you’re finished!)
Tip 2: Have your child practice pulling their own pants up and down. (Looser pants that have easy elastic waistlines are perfect for this!)
Tip 3: Have your child practice sitting on the toilet. (Do something fun with them like singing, reading or looking at favorite family photos!)
Practicing positive reinforcement and introducing rewards
Rewards might help motivate your child to keep practicing toilet preparedness and help establish the connection between bodily functions and the toilet.
Have your child help choose their reward to make it more engaging and exciting when they use the toilet. (A fun trip to the dollar store can help prepare and build excitement!) Include prizes that are interactive. For example, a quick game of chase or a silly song. The key is providing something your child likes and values when they try to use the toilet, and something super special when they are successful to encourage more motivation.
You’re ready, what's next?
So, your child is ready to conquer the toilet! You’ve mastered the fundamentals, but how do you instill confidence in your little one as they master potty training once and for all?
Invest in a toilet seat adapter. This can make your child feel comfortable while using the grown-up toilet without the fear of falling in while practicing a standard toilet.
Set a timer. In the beginning, have your child sit on the toilet once or twice an hour. During these bathroom visits, throw a fruit loop in and let your child flush it, whether they went or not.
Notice the signs. If you see your child grabbing their diaper, squirming or squatting, take your child to the bathroom—quickly!
Bon voyage to diapers! It’s critical to switch to underwear to give your child clear expectations. But it’s okay to continue using diapers for naps and overnight until your child consistently wakes up dry.
Celebrate the successes
Remember, your child may continue to have accidents before they are completely ready to conquer the toilet on their own. Patience is key. Potty training is a big step for little ones and can be a lengthy process. Don’t forget to celebrate the little successes along the way: from a simple flush, to practice using the toilet, waking up dry, or them letting you know they need to use the toilet. These are all milestone moments that will help you and your child to potty training success!