Pages Menu
Categories Menu

When should I potty train my child?

Some parents prefer to call it toilet learning. There are many different methods and techniques that parents have used for generations, some with more success than others. Rest assured your child won’t go off to Kindergarten in diapers.

The money saved not buying diapers, cloth diaper service, or washing cloth diapers is enough motivation for most parents to begin the process as soon as possible. This timing may not work for your toddler though. Children  need to begin the process when they are ready, because they are truly the ones in control here. The readiness is in the muscles that control the bowel and bladder and the awareness of the sensation that they need to go.

We want children to feel comfortable in the bathroom and on the toilet. Children who are afraid of the toilet flushing or who are anxious in the bathroom aren’t ready to begin the process. Wait a month or more while building confidence in the bathroom. Maybe encourage your child to sit on the potty with pants on.

The first sign of readiness is when the child starts hiding to have bowel movements. When children  move to a private area they have become aware of the feeling and sensation. This is when you want to “catch them in the act”. The term catch them in the act has a negative connotation that we don’t want the child to perceive. You do want to move the child to the toilet during this time. Knowing when to potty train becomes easier when you take your cues from your child.

Parents often use sticker charts with varying degrees of success. Stampers on the back of the hand and other forms of reward have been used for generations. Generally speaking though, these types of rewards only result in children learning a performance that will result in the reward. The real goal is self awareness and self control.

In order to learn to use the toilet independently the child must be able to manipulate their clothes. If they can’t get their pants down quickly accidents will happen. So this isn’t the time for suspenders or overalls. Elastic waist pants, while not fashionable, are functional for this time.

Potty training with the help teachers at day care can move the process along. The team approach can be very motivating for children. Teachers at daycare usually have lots of experience in potty training so heed their advice! You may be asked to provide pull-up with Velcro sides for nap times or general use. The children will wear the pull-up with their underwear over. The purpose  of this is is that the Velcro sides allow the teacher to put on the pull-up without taking the child’s clothes off. After nap, whether the pull-up is wet or dry, it can be removed with the child’s clothes on.  This allows the child to be as independent as possible.

This blog includes many resources for parents and kids to know when to potty train.  You’ll find fun books to read and yes sticker charts.