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How to Determine if Your Child is Ready for Potty Training

How to Determine if Your Child is Ready for Potty Training

by Quinn Kelly

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

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As new parents, we subconsciously “parenting points” when our children hit their milestones early. “Oh, yeah. She learned to crawl at three months.” Or “She’s talked in full sentences since she was 15 months.” You don’t want to brag (okay, maybe you do just a little), but you’re just so gosh-darn proud! So it’s only natural to want to do the same thing with potty training, and make them learn early. But I am here to tell you that if your child isn’t ready, you’re just going to end up with pee and poop all over the place! So before you jump onto the… Read More

As new parents, we subconsciously “parenting points” when our children hit their milestones early. “Oh, yeah. She learned to crawl at three months.” Or “She’s talked in full sentences since she was 15 months.” You don’t want to brag (okay, maybe you do just a little), but you’re just so gosh-darn proud! So it’s only natural to want to do the same thing with potty training, and make them learn early. But I am here to tell you that if your child isn’t ready, you’re just going to end up with pee and poop all over the place!

So before you jump onto the potty training bandwagon, here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if you and your child are ready to potty train.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine if Your Child is Ready to Potty Train

1. Has my child shown any interest?

A child that naturally has shown interest will likely train more quickly than one who has not. And if you ignore a child showing interest, it seems possible to miss their peak training time.

2. Am I ready to be attentive?

At first, successful potty training is just as much about the parent as the child. Are you mentally ready for the journey? Because the younger the child is, it seems the more the parent needs to be attentive to their needs. Even if they do train, they may not be able to hold their bladder or bowels as long as someone a year older, so their success often depends on parent support.

3. Am I ready for bathroom breaks on the go?

It sounds weird to say, but in some ways, diapers can actually be easier for some kids than underwear. Once they train, trips to the grocery store and Target may likely involve trips to the potty. Sometimes, even more than one. Oh my!

4. Do they get upset when they are messy or wet?

A child who doesn’t like to be messy or dirty will likely train easier than a child that doesn’t care if they’re dirty. I had one son who would pee his pants and never even tell us. Because he DID. NOT. CARE, which meant potty training, was a PROCESS!

5. Are they older than 24 months?

There are always exceptions to the rule, but the younger the child is, the more time it may take to be fully trained. And while some kids can train at 18 months with no problem, I think somewhere between the ages of 24-36 months seems to be the golden time for most kids! But if your child is showing interest, you don’t want to miss their window, no matter how young. So go for it.

6. Are they scheduled with their bowel movements?

If they are predictable with their poop, they are easier to set on a potty and get to use the bathroom. If they are irregular, you have to rely more on their maturity of telling you, which can be tricky in young kids but not impossible.

7. Am I ready to get them up and take them in the night?

Some children do not night train at the same time as day training, but some do. For those that do, the parent must be willing to get up and take them to the potty at night to keep the success strong.

8. Are they over three?

Even if you answered no to all of these questions, once a child has reached age 3, they are most likely ready! So it’s probably worth your time because the older the child gets, the more disgusting diaper changes become. Am I right?

So that concludes our quiz portion of this article. And if you have answered yes to three or more of these questions, your child is probably ready to potty train! Congratulations! The next step in moving forward is determining the method in which you want to do it. Slow and steady or fast and furious. My favorite book for quick training is Potty-Training in Three Days.

Have I missed any questions? Let us know what should have been on this list!