Have you ever discovered your child hiding under the table making grunting noises when it’s time to go number 2? Can they tell you in complete sentences that it’s time for a change? Do they whip off a dirty diaper like nobody’s business?
Sounds like it could be time for training pants.
How to Know When your Toddler is Ready to Potty Train
In all seriousness, potty training can be messy. There are so many questions and places to second guess yourself — starting with when to actually start the process of toddler potty training. According to Dr. Jill Campbell, staff psychologist at The Pump Station & Nurtury, two signs that your child is ready to ditch the diapers:
1. Your little one is able to keep a dry diaper for at least two hours at a time during the day
2. They are able to walk to and from the bathroom.
Your toddler may also begin to vocalize their potty training readiness by informing you of when they are going pee or poop in their diaper.
According to Mayo Clinic, many children show signs they are ready to potty train between 18 and 24 months, but some aren't ready until they are 3 years old. It's important to remember not to rush potty training and wait until your little one is ready to toilet train. Assess each child’s potty training readiness by asking yourself the questions above. If your answers are yes, it may be time to start toilet training.
But, whether you're beginning the potty training process soon or not, be aware it’s going to be full of trial and error. Our biggest tip for potty training success is to begin by splitting your Bundle with both diapers and training pants (yes, you can do that!), so that you can ease into training on your own time with fewer underwear accidents (and trips to the laundry).
Top Tips for Potty Training Success
Here are a few of Dr. Campbells suggestions for success with the potty:
1. Teach Them About It
Kids love to learn so make this part of the potty training journey. Get some books about using the potty. Make sure that you like the language that the books use and the way that toilet training is explained. Start reading the books to your child. You can even make a custom potty book for your child to help introduce them to the "big potty"..
2. Make it Fun
Let them put their dolls or stuffed animals on their potty chair. Have them tell their dolls what the potty is for. Encourage and praise your child each time they sit on their potty chair. This will help them to feel accomplished and will make the overall experience more enjoyable. Positive reinforcement goes a long way during potty time.
3. Help them Succeed
During the day, try to help your child recognize the sensations of having to go potty, going potty, and having just gone potty. Comment on signs you notice such as pausing in play, squatting, straining or grunting, or moving as if she is uncomfortable after just going. Say matter-of-factly, “You are going pee or poop” (or whatever words you want to use) instead of asking, “What are you doing?”
4. Free the Bum
Let your child be naked in appropriate settings so that they can see more clearly when they are going. This will help them make the mental connection between the words and the behavior of using the toilet. If the weather permits, it is a good idea to sometimes do this in the backyard. Have the travel potty there to show the connection.
5. Take a Step Back
After your child has been successful at using the potty several times with your suggestion, begin to pull back a bit to see if he will use the potty on their own. You don’t want to be constantly asking them if they have to go potty, because you want them to have that sense of control. When an accident occurs, don’t make a big deal of it.
Find even more helpful tips from our full interview with Dr. Campbell here.