It probably seems like just yesterday that you changed your toddler’s first diaper, and now you’re wondering if it’s time to start potty training. There’s no magic age at which children are ready to start learning how to use the potty, so some develop the necessary physical and cognitive skills between 18 and 24 months of age.
Many parents don’t start potty training until their children are 2 1/2 to 3 yrs. old, when daytime bladder control has become more reliable. And some children aren’t interested in potty training until they’re closer to three. Now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s easier to start now with less clothing to wear and be outside.
Here are some helpful tips that we use in the classroom and at home with our own children:
- Physical signs
- Is coordinated enough to walk, and even run, steadily.
- Has “dry” periods of at least two hours or during naps, which shows that his bladder muscles are developed enough to hold urine.
- Behavioral signs
- Can sit down quietly in one position for two to five minutes.
- Can pull his pants up and down
- Dislikes the feeling of wearing a wet or dirty diaper.
- Shows interest in others’ bathroom habits ( wants to watch you go to the bathroom or wear underwear)
- Gives a physical or verbal sign when he’s having a bowel movement such as grunting, squatting, or telling you.
- Demonstrates a desire for independence.
- Takes pride in his accomplishments
- Isn’t resistant to learning to use the toilet
- Is in a generally cooperative stage.
- Cognitive signs
- Understands the physical signals that mean he has to go and can tell you before it happens or even hold it until he has time to get to the potty.
- Can follow simple instructions, such as “go get the toy”.
- Understands the value of putting things where they belong.
- Has words for “pee-pee” and “poopy”.
Potty training can sometimes be a stressful time for some parents but with perseverance and a lot of patience you will make it through