Arguably one of the greatest moments of being a parent is saying goodbye to diapers for good. It’s a light at the end of the baby stage tunnel and most are eager to get there. And for good reason. Your monthly budget gets a nice boost from the money you will save and you no longer have to lie to your partner about being the last one to change the diaper (just me?).
But so many parents are eager to get the potty training party started that they start a little too soon. How soon is too soon? Well, it depends. On a lot actually. And age isn’t necessarily the guiding light in determining whether your toddler is ready to potty train. So when your friend says their one year old just went poop on the potty, don’t freak out. It doesn’t mean your child is behind. It might just mean that your friend’s potty genius of a child showed these 7 signs of potty training readiness:
- They show interest in the toilet and all the lovely events that happen on it. Finally, a good reason to have your child interrupt you while you are doing your business. If your toddler has taken a keen interest to all things bathroom, that could mean they are starting to put together that they can do what you do. And maybe this diaper setup isn’t so great. One aspect to really look out for is whether they are afraid of the flushing noise. I know my youngest was scared shitless (not literally unfortunately) of public restrooms because those toilets had the power of hurricane sucking down the water. The loud noise from flushing was terrifying so I knew we weren’t even close to starting.(parent hack: keep a sticky notepad with you and cover up the sensor so there are no surprise flushes!)
- Stays dry for long stretches of time. If you start to notice more dry diapers when you change your toddler, that could be a sign that physically they are ready to start potty training. They need to have enough bladder control (two hours is a good start) to make potty training effective. So if you’ve had days when you wonder when the last time you changed them was because they have been staying dry, that’s a good start!
- Pulls off diapers. This is a mom’s worst nightmare. The child who pulls off their diaper in the middle of the night. You wake up to a wet mattress and a child who acts like they accomplished the impossible. Yes, it’s no fun to catch your child taking off their diaper. And yes, you can try all the tricks in the book to get them to stop, like putting them on backwards (or duct tape, just saying), but their naughtiness could just be a sign that they are ready to potty train.
- Can pull up their own shorts. This isn’t a deal breaker, but certainly helps the whole process go more smoothly. If they don’t yet have this skill mastered you may find yourself in a daily battle to get them to disrobe so they can use the toilet properly. Another option is to let them run around in just their undies for the first part of training (I’m a big fan of this method, especially with the frequent last minute rushes to the bathroom).
- Tells you when they are going. If your child is looking you dead in the eye and telling you they are peeing or pooping in their diaper, it’s probably time to potty train. That means they have the feeling and sensation recognized and it’s no longer a subconscious act for them. That’s a big hurdle for them to overcome so this is a big sign that they are ready to begin.
- Can follow instructions. This is where age does play a role. If they are on the younger side of potty training they may have a difficult time understanding the tasks at hand. If you think about it, there’s a lot that goes in to going to the bathroom. Realizing you have to go, making it to the bathroom, pulling down the underwear, climbing up to the toilet, not fall in, go to the bathroom, wipe, pull up underwear, flush, wash hands… It’s a lot. Especially for a child who may not want to quit playing to address all of that nonsense. So if your child has not yet mastered taking instructions, it may be too early to get started.
- Likes underwear. Seems a little trivial I’m sure, but if your toddler isn’t going apeshit over picking out underwear for themselves then they might not have enough interest yet. Most kids who are ready to roll will LOVE picking out their own underwear because they get to see their favorite cartoon characters on their butt. Who doesn’t love that?When we were close to potty training both of our kids I made sure to point out my underwear and daddy’s underwear so they understood that we don’t wear diapers (sans postpartum that is). This got them noticing the difference and why underwear is so ‘cool’ so both kids were jazzed to pick out their own undies.
If your toddler is showing some of these signs then you may very well be on your way to acheiving potty training greatness. But if not, don’t worry! They will get there in their own time. One of the most common mistakes I hear among moms is starting their child too early. It frustrates the child and the mom and in the end no one is happy. Making the child excited to start potty training is key to a successful transition so if they aren’t feeling it then scrap the plan and check back in a few months down the road.
If after reading this you think your child is ready to roll, then check out a few resources for you to get started:
The ultimate potty training guide-has hacks, tips, printables, and all kinds of good advice
How to get your toddler to poop in the toilet-One of the hardest parts of potty training is getting your toddler to successfully go #2. Here’s a post that can help!
Baby led potty training-Really interesting article about one mom who never actually ‘started’ training, but let her kids decide on their own. I think it speaks to the readiness factors mentioned above and how easily we can be swayed in to starting too soon.
Did I miss any tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments?
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