There comes a time when every child needs to graduate from diapers to a potty. Making sure that your little one is ready is the most important thing to do, or else the whole potty-training process could turn out to be disastrous for parent and child. Before we get into the essential information about how to know if your child is ready to be potty trained, let’s have a look at what potty training actually is.
Table of Contents
- What is Potty Training?
- What is the Right Age to Potty Train my Child?
- Is There a Difference Between Potty Training Boys and Girls?
- How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Child?
- What Do I Do If My Child Doesn’t Want to Be Potty Trained?
- How Do I Prepare My Child to Be Potty Trained?
- How to Potty Train Your Child
- Potty Training Do’s and Don’ts
What is Potty Training?
Quite simply, potty training is exactly what the name suggests. It’s the process of training a child – usually a toddler – to use a potty. The potty is then used by the child to go to the toilet. Potty training is a natural process that all children will go through at some point, just as their parents did, too. There are several different methods for potty training, and different cultures tend to follow different ways.
What is the Right Age to Potty Train my Child?
The most important element of potty training is picking the right time. Your child needs to be ready. To know if your child is ready to potty train, then you should look out for the following signs.
Firstly, if you’ve started to notice that you don’t need to change your child’s diaper as often as you used to, then this is a signal that they may be approaching potty training time. When your child’s bladder control has improved, then they’ll be able to go about an hour or two hours without needing the toilet, meaning you don’t need to change their diaper during this time. That bladder control is necessary for potty training. If your child doesn’t have it yet, then they won’t be ready. You should notice this sign at around 20 months, perhaps later, but it’s unlikely that you’ll notice it earlier.
The second signal that will suggest your child might be ready for potty training is when their bowel movements become regular. This means that you’ll be ready to retrieve the potty each time your child needs to the toilet, making it less likely for you to be caught off guard, and your child have an accident.
The third sign is an obvious one. Is your child asking about the toilet more and more? If so, then they are ready to use the toilet, just like their parents. Kids can grow up overnight when they’re toddlers. If your child suddenly feels too old for diapers and wants to use the ‘proper’ toilet, then that’s a great sign, as they’ll be far more motivated towards potty training, making your job a lot easier, and the process far more simple, too.
Your child might also start telling you how disgusted they are by diapers, complaining about their smell, how they feel, and how they look. Just about everything to do with diapers might start to irk your child. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a sign!
You will generally notice these signals between the ages of 2 and 3 ½. It’s unlikely that your child will be ready to be potty trained before their second birthday. It’s good that you’re both eager to get started, but waiting until your child is 2 is the best way to avoid accidents, which could also damage your child’s confidence and draw out the process of potty training.
It’s always better to wait until you and your child are 100% ready. But you also shouldn’t wait too long. Although, don’t worry if your child is 3 ½ and they’re still not ready. The time will come. We’re all different. We all progress at different paces – and children are the same. There’s nothing wrong with your child if they’re not ready to be potty trained at 3 ½.
Is There a Difference Between Potty Training Boys and Girls?
Yes, there are two major differences.
Firstly, boys have to learn two different ways to go, standing and sitting. Usually, parents tend to potty train their boy to sit first, and then, once they have perfected this method, they train their child to pee standing up. This process requires a little bit of effort to make sure that there’s no mess made by the boy. He’ll need to figure out how best to direct his stream so that it goes into the potty, rather than onto the rim or around the potty.
The second difference is that potty training boys take longer than it does girls. Many studies back this up. However, the difference in time is only a matter of months.
How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Child?
As with everything in life, the amount of time it will take to potty train your child will depend entirely upon them. As individuals, we all work at our own pace. And how long it takes for your child to be potty trained will also depend on the method that you use. It’s impossible to give a guideline because it’s so different from child to child.
Some children start to learn early but then take a long time, whereas others aren’t ready until they’re almost four, and learn very quickly indeed. Some boys can learn how to pee into the potty in a matter of days but take months, or longer, until they’re able to use the potty regularly. It even varies within families, with siblings taking dramatically different times.
The most important thing to remember is that potty training will take as long as it takes. Don’t rush or hurry your child. Let your child work at their own pace, and they will learn. Even if it feels like a slog at some points, this is a hugely transformative time for your child. And, also, it’s a permanent transformation. Once they are potty trained, they’re trained forever—no more diapers.
What Do I Do If My Child Doesn’t Want to Be Potty Trained?
There are many reasons why your child may not want to be potty trained. Consider it from your child’s perspective. That toilet is a scary contraption. It’s big, high, and when it’s flushed, everything disappears down a little hole. There’s a chance that your child is very worried that they might fall into that hole and disappear themselves, or that they may fall from the toilet and hurt themselves.
They may also fear a lack of control. Or, they may just hate being told what to do – we all know those toddler years can be quite tricky at times. Whatever the reason is, there are some surefire ways that you can make sure that your child doesn’t remain resistant to potty training much longer.
You need to use all your skills as a parent to reassure your little one. Ease the child into it. Don’t hurry. Make sure that they can see and understand that there’s nothing to be afraid of. You may want to get some friends to help out here, either their friends or yours, who can tell and show your child that it’s alright. And the final thing that you can do to soothe your child’s fears is to be patient. They will get over their fears soon enough, as long as you help to make them comfortable.
How Do I Prepare My Child to Be Potty Trained?
Preparing your child to be potty trained is important for the process. There are some key steps that you can follow so that your child is prepared and eased into the process.
Firstly, it’s a good idea to purchase a potty, then put it out in your home where your child can see it. The potty is now out in the open, and it’s ready to be discussed with your child. Tell them what it is. Tell them how it’s used. If they ask to be shown how to use it, then you could ask your older children – if you have them – to demonstrate how it’s used.
If you don’t have any older children, then either you or your co-parent – if there is one – should show your child what you do when you go to the bathroom. Explain to them exactly what you’re doing, step by step, and if they have any questions, then make sure to answer them in detail, making sure that your child has understood everything.
After you’ve done this process, your child will likely want to experiment with the potty. Why not let them sit on it? So that they know how it feels. The more often and longer your child sits on the potty, the more comfortable they will become on it, and the more prepared they’ll be for the first day you begin to train them.
Another handy thing you can start doing to get your child ready for potty training is to discuss the contents of your child’s diaper when you’re changing it for them. Explain what pee and poo is. Tell them where they come from, how they are different. You might also want to start changing your child’s diaper in the bathroom. It’s a good way for your child to learn that the bathroom is the place where we all go when we want to pee or poo.
How to Potty Train Your Child
The method you use when you potty train your child has to be well thought through. And it’s important to research a variety of methods. What works for one child may not work for others, but we’re going to look at the most common methods here. The following are good ways parents use to start potty training:
After your child has finished eating a meal, ask them to sit on the potty, as now is the time that they’ll be digesting their food, and a bowel movement may happen.
If you’ve noticed that your child regularly goes to the toilet at the same time each day, then get the potty out at this time and ask your child to sit on it.
If you notice a tell-tale sign that your child is getting ready to pee or poo, then ask them to wait and quickly fetch the potty for them to use. Don’t worry if there are accidents. They’ll happen at the start.
Start with peeing. This is a more natural way for your child to build up their confidence with the potty.
Potty Training Do’s and Don’ts
Always reassure your child that accidents happen, and never get angry when they do.
Dress your child in potty-friendly clothing, which means clothes that your child can easily remove. Don’t put them in something full of zips or buttons, nor anything too tight.
Don’t start with the night. Your child needs to get their potty usage in the daytime done before they can consider the night-time training, which will take a lot longer.
Don’t worry if your child progresses slowly and has lots of accidents. Do ensure that your child is content, relaxed, and free of pressure.
Now that you’ve read this guide, you should know if your child is ready to be potty trained. You should also know how to get them started on this exciting new journey in their life. Whatever you do, make sure that your child is always reassured and never pressured. Potty training takes as long as it takes. It isn’t about getting it done quickly; it’s about getting it done in a manner that your child is comfortable with. Good luck!