Potty training is not always an easy or quick process. There are several skills that need to be taught and practiced. Parents need to keep in mind that every child is different and there is no magic age that a child is ready to start learning to use the potty. Even though there is not a magic age, there are definitely signs that you child is ready.
7 Signs Your Child Is Ready For The Potty:
- A Desire to Use the Potty-Your child will start to show an interest in being potty trained. He or she will start to stay clean and dry for longer periods of time and will be excited and happy about it. Your child will also want to wear big kid underpants instead of diapers or pull-ups. Interested potty learners are often curious about what you are doing when you are going to the bathroom. He or she may start to ask questions about bathroom time.
- The Ability to Follow Simple Instructions–Your potty learner should be able to follow and complete simple instructions. This is because there are several steps that need to be completed when going to the bathroom (i.e. turn on the light, close the door, pull down your pants and underwear, sit on the potty, wipe your bottom, flush the toilet, wash your hands…)
- The Ability to Engage in an Activity-It is important that your child can sit and engage in an activity for more than a few minutes. If your child becomes distracted easily or is quick to get frustrated or agitated, it will make potty training harder.
- Recognition of the Potty Sensation-It is important that your child recognizes and understands when he or she is going or is not going to the bathroom. If you try to start potty training before your child is aware of what he or she is doing, it might be more difficult for you to make progress.
- The Ability to Stay Dry-When your child is staying dry for longer periods of time (often two hours or more) this indicates that his or her bladder capacity is increasing and potty training might be a possibility.
- Ability to Walk and Run-You want to make sure that your child is capable of walking or running to the bathroom. When you are potty training, the bathroom is not always close. There may be times when you are far away from a toilet and your child will need to walk quickly or run to be able to get there in time.
- The Motor Skills to Pull Pants On and Off-Your child’s ability to pull up and down his/her pants will also help with the potty training process.
Remember to keep your eyes open and be aware of the above signs when getting ready to potty train (click here to watch a 2 minute webisode where a Board Certified Behavior Analyst explains the signs to look out for in more depth!). Also, make sure to remain patient. Practice makes perfect. If you feel potty training is not progressing how it should in your house, contact an applied behavior analyst for help.