Being toilet trained is a milestone moment in a child’s development, and one that many parents look forward to (no more changing diapers!). But it is a skill that will only happen once the child is physically, cognitively and behaviourally ready.
Most parents start potty training their little one when they show signs of readiness between 18 and 24 months, but there are toddlers who do not show interest till after three years of age. There is no need to rush into potty training as starting before your child is ready could make training take even longer.
Signs your child is ready:
- Is able to follow simple instructions
- Recognises and understands the urge and can let you know before it happens
- Understands and uses words about the potty training process
- Is able to walk or run steadily
- Demonstrates developed bladder muscles and control by having ‘dry’ periods of two hours or more during naps.
- Has regular bowel movements at predictable times
- Can take off their pants and put it back on
- Able to tell when they have a dirty diaper
- There is a lot of fidgeting or tugging at their diaper when they need to pee
- Able to communicate when they are emptying their bladder or bowel
- Can maintain sitting down for up to five minutes
- Shows interest in bathroom habits – such as wanting to go to the bathroom with you
- Takes pride in their accomplishments
It is common for girls to be potty trained by two years, while boys might take slightly longer to show signs of readiness at age three. Parents should exercise patience throughout the process, especially if the little one is showing resistance to potty training. If your child seems to be stressed or negative about it, consider waiting till they have developed further or reached other milestones before picking training back up.
Additionally, be aware of the happenings in your child’s life. Should there be significant events that could potentially stress your child out such as having a new sibling, shifting houses, starting school or even switching caregivers, potty training could be difficult. Parents might want to consider putting it off till your child is more settled with the changes.