Your child is well into his toddler years and you may be contemplating when the right time is to start potty training. This can be a difficult question to answer as no two children are the same and what may be the right time for one child may be completely inappropriate for another. Fortunately there are some signs to look for as you decide when your child is ready to potty train.
Expresses interest in wearing big kid underwear
One of the most common signs that your child is ready to potty train is that they grow tired of their diaper and express a desire to wear big kid underwear. This is especially prevalent in homes where the child to be potty trained is frequently around other kids or has siblings that he has observed using the bathroom. Potty training is a right of passage and something that your child needs to want to do enough to be willing to work for it.
Does not like the feeling of wetting or dirtying his diaper
Another very common indicator that your child is ready for potty training is that they begin to complain about having a dirty diaper or rush to your for a changing as soon as they wet themselves. This action is an indicator that your child is aware of when their bodies get rid of waste and that the feeling is unpleasant.
Can communicate a need to use the restroom and is receptive of teaching
Your child needs to be able to communicate well enough to understand what you will teach them during the potty training process. If your child cannot yet understand language well enough to receive simple instructions from you it may be too early to start potty training (with, of course the exception of the hearing or developmentally impaired to whom special circumstances would apply).
Is able to walk and coordinate movements necessary to use the toilet
It is impossible to potty train a child if he has not yet developed the motor skills to handle all that needs to take place while using the potty. Your child needs to be able to balance themselves on the toilet seat and know to stay seated what could be a long period of time.
Knows how to use his bladder muscle to "hold it in"
Your child will need to develop the ability to hold their bladder muscle until they can get to the bathroom if potty training is to be successful. There needs to be that physiological progress of being able to control the urge to use the bathroom.
Most children are interested in learning about using the potty, but not all of them can act consistently enough to stick with the education process. One suggestion is to wait a few months and prep your child for potty training. Once you think that your child might be ready for potty training start reading books about using the potty or watching videos together that help your child learn about the potty process and the specifics of his or her own body. Talk about potty training together. Build anticipation. This way when it comes down to the day when you will actually start having your child try to use the potty he will have background knowledge and will not be as hesitant to start and stick with the potty training.
Additionally, parents need to show consistency in their desire for their child to be potty trained. It is not enough for the child to be ready if the parent is preoccupied with other demanding responsibilities. Potty training your child is going to take most if not all of your attention. Make sure that you prepare yourself as well.