How do you know when to start potty training?
When your child is ready?
One thing I have realised since becoming a mum is that you don’t automatically know all the right answers just because you are a mum now, much to my disappointment. Nor is there a parent manual that you can just follow!
This is just the same with potty training, how do you know when they are ready to try? I suppose you might take the approach that you don’t know until you try, which is true but I have heard some horror stories of the ongoing toileting problems if you start them too early before they are ready, especially with boys!
Hayden is now 2 and a half, and I have been thinking about starting potty training with him for a few months now, but unsure if he is definitely ready and I don’t want to rush him. The potty itself has been around the living room and bathroom for a few months now and we have sat him on it a few times. He does often say if he’s done a poo in his nappy and will go and get you the changing mat and wipes, and even going as far as laying down on it to indicate he wants changing!
So I think probably perhaps its more me that’s not been ready to start the potty training, in part for fear it won’t be successful, the anxiety of accidents in public etc.
After doing a bit of reading around the subject as like all mums I wanted to get it right, I found out some very helpful information, that you may already know but if not might be helpful to you.
Heres my take on the info:
The majority of parents start thinking about potty training between the ages of 2 and 2 and a half, and the average age of potty training is between 18 months and 3 years. By the age of 3, 9 out of 10 children will be dry the majority of the day. (Remember night time potty training is a whole different ballgame and will normally take longer)
Yes, there are average ages just like weaning, moving out of the cot, walking etc but like everything every child is different, so what works for one child does not necessarily and more than likely will not work for the next child!
Rather than thinking about purely their age its a much better idea is to first try and to work out when YOUR child is ready to start potty training, which is essentially when they have developed some bladder control.
This makes sense, doesn’t it? As to how can you expect a child who is not aware they are weeing and/or pooing to be able to tell you they need to go!
There are a number of signs that your child is starting to develop bladder control:
- they know when they’ve got a wet or dirty nappy
- they get to know when they’re passing urine and may tell you they’re doing it
- the gap between wetting is at least an hour- personally I think this is quite hard to tell unless they are letting you know every time they do even a small wee or you have them in pants already, as nappies are so absorbent these days!
- they show they need to pee by fidgeting or going somewhere quiet or hidden
- they know when they need to pee and may say so in advance
The more aware they are, for example, able to tell you in advance they need a wee, then the more likely potty training will be successful in a shorter period of time. This doesn’t mean if you start when they are just telling you afterwards or during weeing that it won’t work, more just that it might take a little longer and more carpet accidents and washing may be required!
They also need to be able to sit on the potty and get up from it when they’re done and follow your instructions.
Even if your child is showing all these signs but point blank refuses to sit on the potty, its best not to force them to sit on it. They will get there, as once they become more and more aware of their bladder control and wet, uncomfortable nappies they won’t want to stay in those for long!
I think it’s important to remember this is a developmental skill and not a war!
You know your child better than anyone else so don’t feel you have to start potty training just because other people think you should.
There are also other factors that you might want to consider before you start potty training your little one,
- Have you got the lots of time and effort to devote to potty training right now?
If you’re moving house or there’s a new baby on the way, it’s probably not the best time to start teaching your child to use the potty.
So now you have some idea of when to start potty training your child, the next question is how to start?
Getting your child ready to start potty training
- Children love feeling like they are “helping” you and getting involved so let them help with changing their nappies. Change them standing up, get them to help with their clothing and wash your hands together when you’ve finished.
- Talk about wee and poo- the graphic detail not required! Tell them if their nappy is wet or dry when you change them and talk about the wee or poo inside
- Keep the nappies in the toilet and change your child in there so they associate wees and poos with that room.
- Like a lot of things with toddlers using Bribery, no sorry a reward system like a sticker chart or lucky dip bag. Reward every little step towards potty training like sitting on the potty or washing their hands. You can grab a ready-made for you FREE DOWNLOADABLE PRINTABLE (and laminateable if your that way inclined, I completely am!) POTTY TRAINING REWARD STICKER CHART at the end of this post. ?
- Read picture books about potty training together, to help them understand what it’s all about.
- I am sure you are already used to not being alone in the bathroom already and as frustrating as that is sometimes, but it also means that your children are learning that you do wees and poos just like them too!
You can also talk to your health visitor or children’s centre for potty training advice. If you want more help and advice there is the ERIC helpline (the children’s bowel and bladder charity)
If you would like your very own FREE Potty training reward/sticker chart (in 2 colour options) as a PRINTABLE A4 chart then be sure to sign up below for your FREE download!!
Also: If you would like to join our mama and mama to be facebook group for support, chats and giggles then please feel free to join, we would love to meet you– Join Mama Be kind Facebook Group
Have you started Potty training your little one yet? When did you start? How did it go? I would love to hear your stories and tips for potty training!