It's time to teach my two-year-old how to use the potty. It's challenging, but it doesn't have to be. This blog will help answer questions to follow your child's indicators and know you're on the path to successfully potty training. We will walk together through the journey of the highs and lows, the joys and tears of potty training.
Potty training can be stressful and messy but rewarding because it is a big step for a family to see their little one transition from diapers to underwear. A plan will help decrease messes, but it doesn't eliminate them. Potty training is different for every child; however, common indicators are similar for most toddlers. Reading up on potty training techniques and using Potty Training Chart is a great way to prepare. A couple of resources that I have found helpful to prepare are Potty Training in 3 Days and Ditch Diapers Fast.
I have five children, and my two-year-old is the fourth, and it is hard to resist the urge to expect the same results within the same timeline as my other children. Each toddler is ready to use the potty within their timeframe. My oldest daughter saw “pretty” panties when she was 18 months old, was completely potty trained within two weeks, and had no accidents before two. My oldest son saw some boys pee in the toilet into fruit loop rings, discovered he needed underwear to do that, and at age two, his potty training began. He received skittles as a reward, and he was potty trained with no accidents within six months. My neurodivergent seven-year-old took years to potty train and still has to wear pull-ups to bed at night. She is under a gastroenterologist and urologist's care, and I don't see an end. My two-year-old has attempted to throw away the potty chair twice and when she opened the Amazon box of underwear fell out on the floor in a fit of rage! Nevertheless, here are some common indicators your child may be prepared to trade the diapers in for underwear.
Communicate when they are wet.
If my child could not come to me and state they wanted to use the potty, tugging on their diaper when it is wet indicates it's time to get a potty chair or seat. Keep in mind some kids don't care or don't sense if they are wet or poopy. Age-wise, each of my children are pretty spread out and was able to pick out their potty chair or seat; once the seat is at the house, it's Potty Party Time! Read on for more indicators.
Most parents notice that their child is showing interest in the bathroom. They may follow you into the toilet or ask questions about bathroom usage. My children have an internal sensor that flips on when I go to the bathroom. I have considered hanging a disco ball in the bathroom and putting LED lights to justify the party every time.
Some toddlers take off all of their clothes and run into the bathroom before knowing how to use the toilet, and this is a sure sign they're ready to at least attempt to toilet train. For example, my two-year-old will sit down on her pretty pink potty, fully dressed, then stand on it to reach the sink and wash her hands.
Dry for more extended periods.
Your child is probably ready to start using the potty when they sleep through the night and stay dry, even if only for a few hours. The first time my daughter woke up with a dry diaper, we celebrated with unicorn pancakes!
Do they understand what “potty” means?
No matter what wording you use: potty, toilet, bathroom, or something else – when your toddler can understand what it means, this can be another sign they're ready to transition away from diapers.
They can communicate when they need to go to the potty.
Not all children can verbally communicate that they need to go potty. There are other ways your child may express they need to pee or poop. For example, teach your toddler the sign language sign for “bathroom” to communicate the urgency verbally. We use the word potty in my home for going pee or poop because either way, I want her to go in and sit down on the toilet.
They can undress.
Even if they can't fully dress yet, if they're able to pull down their diaper or training pants, your toddler shows signs of potty training readiness. Being able to undress on her own is very important because, with five kids, she gets to the bathroom before I do, and she needs to be able to pull down her underwear without me having to stand over her each time to help.
They can use the potty chair.
When you purchase a Potty Chair, teach your toddler how to use it, they should be able to use the chair independently. Then, have them practice using the chair between actual use to prepare when it's time to go. For all of my potty-trained children, I have them use their chairs as much as possible, even if they want to use the potty to watch a movie in the living room. In addition to the potty chair, we have a step potty seat. That way, if the potty chair is in the living room, we are not wasting time getting it back in the bathroom when she has to use the toilet.
They want to use the toilet.
Each toddler will be ready to potty train in their own time. Not all children will want to potty train, so it's essential to be persistent but not force them if they aren't ready. Then, when your child says they want to use the toilet, you'll know they're prepared to start trying. I only interrupt this process when my daughter wants to use the toilet as a bath or pool for her dolls. Yes, I've had to interrupt quite a few pool parties.
They can follow directions.
Being able to follow directions is another toilet readiness skill. However, there is a difference between understanding directions and being able to follow them. Your toddler may often follow you to the bathroom before starting potty training. Them following you is an opportunity to model for them the steps of using the toilet. Placing a pictorial on the wall will allow them to visually see the steps to using the potty when they can use the bathroom independently. Once they can follow simple instructions like how to wash their hands, they just might be prepared for potty training.
Let the fun begin!
Making potty training fun rather than stressful will make your child feel more like a big kid and increase their chance of success. Use a reward chart, or create a Cheerio target; get creative and figure out how you can make it fun for your kiddo.
A quick way to sabotage potty training is to force them before they are ready and will take longer to complete than if you had just waited. However, most children will be potty trained well before kindergarten, so be patient and take your time.
If your child is reluctant to potty train for an extended period or seems afraid of the toilet, you may want to talk to your child's pediatrician for more potty training assistance. In addition, your child may have some anxiety or other unresolved issues; their doctor can help with any medical concerns. My seven-year-old daughter uses a Potty Training Watch, and it vibrates every hour to remind her to stop and go to the bathroom. The watch is great for school because it is discreet and doesn’t interrupt the class, and looks like a regular watch, so her classmates don’t know why she has it on.
Staying positive and patient is vital! Positive parenting is effective at any age; if it's a new concept or you're unsure, here is training to help Potty Training in 3 Days. It can benefit you and your child with potty training and other areas of parenting. Just remember, every child is different, with the average age being potty training being eighteen months to three years old. If it's not time, then it's not time. Good Luck!