This is a huge topic for moms. My oldest child is almost 3 and this is something we have been working on for a while now. Just hearing the words “potty training” gets me all stressed out and wound up! All the questions one has as a mom who is just starting to deal with it. “When is the best time to start? How do I know if it’s time? What if my child fights me on it? What if they never learn how to use the potty?!?!”
I am here to tell you, that it is going to be okay! Your child will get there eventually. Very few children get to their 5th birthday without knowing how to use the potty! But I think the most important thing for you to know is, it isn’t a race. With the social networking aspects of society these days you can’t turn around without being informed on how your friends’, neighbors’, and co-workers’ kids are doing.
“Hey, Billy is out of diapers!”
“Isn’t Billy only 18 months old?”
“Yep! He decided he was done!”
It is so difficult to listen to how these other kids are doing without comparing your child’s progress. But don’t! Every kid is different and has different needs as far as when and how they will potty train. My daughter and I have been working on it since she was around 18 months old, and it honestly has been a very frustrating journey. Not because she had a difficult time, but because I think I tried to push it on her too soon. Many experienced moms had told me, “You have to wait until she is ready”. I know it sounds like simple advice, but it is so true. You can waste a year pushing and pushing and getting no where OR you can look for the signs that your child is ready, and wait until then. (Honestly I think this happens for most kids around 2.5 years).
So what are the signs that s/he is ready?
1) Being uncomfortable in dirty diapers. S/he will tell you s/he wants her/his diaper changed.
2) Showing interest in potty behavior. S/he will want to follow you in the bathroom and see what you are doing. S/he might also imitate potty behavior.
3) Having a dry diaper for an extended period of time. This one has to do with her/his physical development. Their little bodies will start to be able to hold it in, which in turn will result in dry diapers more often.
4) Understanding multiple step directions. S/he responds to something like, “Take off your socks and throw them in the hamper.”
5) Is becoming more independent. S/he can do things on her/his own most of the time.
6) Is using language to respond to you. This is a big one! S/he needs to be able to come to you and tell you that s/he need to go potty.
*If your child shows all of these things, then s/he will probably be ready to start potty training.
I have read quite a few books on the topic because I was seeking knowledge! The list above comes from the similar things I read in the books. If you are going to venture to start potty training, just know, there is no one way to do it. I know people will swear by a method because it worked for their child, but that doesn’t mean it will definitely work for you. It isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” kind of thing. Each kid is different, and temperament plays a big role. For example, my daughter has a very “slow to warm up” temperament. Meaning it takes her a long time to adjust to change. So potty training her over a weekend, did not work. We were unsuccessful with that method. Also, the more I pushed her, the more she resisted. So I had to really follow her cues.
The last piece of advice I will give you on this topic is, emphasize being dry! I read this in a book and it was like a revelation to me! Most parents praise and reward a child when s/he used the potty. While that step is important, it is even more important to praise and reward them for being dry during the inbetween times. Being dry, afterall, is the goal. I used “dry checks” about every 40 minutes or so and would reward my daughter for being dry. This was a very useful tool for us because it gave her the self awareness to check and see that she was dry. Now she does it on a normal basis, without reward.
I hope you have success in your potty training journey! If you ever have any questions or need some advice you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org !