Let’s face it, after changing diapers for 2 years, many of us mamas are ready to be done. Particularly as the child is eating more like an adult and his bowels… uh… reflect this. Throw in a pregnancy with a little morning sickness and changing a dirty diaper is a form of torture.
But, the question is, when do you start potty training? Some moms start nearly at birth with Elimination Communication. Some moms wait till the child is 2. Some let the older siblings teach the younger child.
Based on my experience and research… I decided to potty train my boy when he was showing signs of readiness. I think this is the gentlest and smoothest approach for baby and mama.
So, how do you know your child may be ready?
Well, here are the top 7 signs.
1. Child takes pride in accomplishments and likes some independence
This shows emotionally, they would be prepared for something like potty training. Griffin started playing for longer periods independently and didn’t mind sitting down for a poopy by himself for 10-15 minutes. If your child isn’t showing these sign posts, try to think of little tasks that they can do for themselves like feeding the family fish or dog, or dropping a letter in the mailbox, and see if they like the feeling of accomplishment. Gently encourage appropriate independence.
2. Child will occasionally have “dry periods”
I remember Griffin would sometimes wake up from nap with a dry diaper. This shows us that they have some form of bladder control and that their anatomy is able to hold urine, making it physically possible to potty train.
3. Child doesn’t like wearing dirty diapers
At some point, children won’t like the feeling of wet diapers or big poops in their pants. Cuz let’s face it, they output is getting rather large, no matter how absorbent your diaper is. Griffin didn’t seem to mind too much but once we potty trained, he hated if he had an accident. Didn’t like that feeling at all, which helps the whole process.
4. Child notices others going potty
Griffin started noticing when his daddy or I would go potty. He’d even come into the bathroom and comment on it. Sometimes, he’d want to see it or flush the toilet afterwards. Encourage these kind of interactions! You’re teaching your boy or girl how the process works.
Griffin would also notice when my parent’s dog Hershey would go potty. He loved watching this. He’d then imitate by lifting his leg or squatting on the grass. He also thought it was silly when we’d pick up Hershey’s poop and he’d call it “stinky” and giggle. Again, these are all great things for child to see. If you don’t have pets, maybe go to zoo or watch a video that shows this natural process.
5. Child says they’re going potty
Randomly, Griffin started saying “I’m going pee pee” as he stood still and smiled. Or he’d say “I just peed!” These were cues to me that he was understanding how his body functioned and when he was actually going.
6. It becomes obvious when they go #2
Griffin’s whole demeanor would change if he had to go number 2. He’d stand alone and make grunting noises. It was so obvious to everyone is was almost comical. His bowels were becoming big enough that it was a minor event.
Griffin started isolating himself when he went number 2. He wanted privacy and to be alone. Sometimes, he would actually go into the bathroom and shut the door and poo in his diaper. This is a big red flag and a sign that child is ready to start potty training.
7. Child will try out potty
If your child is willing to sit on the potty, that’s a great sign! Encourage it. Whereas if your boy or girl show big resistance to the idea, I would wait a month or two and try again.
Where to go from here…
If you’re noticing some of these signals, encourage them. Talk to child about potty and the whole process. If you haven’t already, buy a few potties and place around house. Encourage them to use them. Tell them this is their potty and their potty only. Help them feel proud about this development. Get children books that talk about potty training. Our favorite was called “Even Fire Fighters Have to Go Potty.” Some people love the Elmo toilet, song and book. I’ll put some links below of good resources/tools to help you.
Also, start talking about how they will be potty trained soon. How they won’t be using the diaper anymore. Get them excited about this new development and give them ample warning so they can adjust to idea and actually have some anticipation.
If at any time during this process. they seem to shut down, become afraid, regress, act out, then slow it all down and try again in a month or two. The last thing we want is to make this process traumatizing. Also, be aware of other life changes like a move, preschool or new sibling. I wanted to get Griffin potty trained well before our baby and move came so he could adjust to this new normal. Many kids will regress if it’s too close to a major change. Baby steps.
But, if your child is showing interest, and somewhat excitement, then you’re ready to try potty training. Stay tuned for my next post where I will share tips on how to do this.
How about YOU?
How did you know when your son or daughter was ready to be potty trained? Share it with us in the comments below so we can learn from each other!