Hi, I’m Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
Are you wondering when your toddler will be ready to say hello to the potty – and bye-bye to diapers?
Just like with walking and talking, tots have different timetables when it comes to using the potty. On average, most master this major milestone sometime around their third birthday. Some much sooner, others even later.
One thing’s for sure, there’s no point in trying to train a toddler before he’s ready. How will you know when your child’s ready? Here are some signs you can look for:
First, he’ll be wetting less often – which, not surprisingly, signals that he’s gaining bladder control, kind of essential for successful potty training.
Is your little one staying dry for a few hours at a time? That’s one sign that he’s physically ready for this big step.
Also look for an increased awareness of his bodily functions. He’ll stop and take notice when he pees and poops. He may even make an announcement about it. Or retreat to a corner for some privacy. Either way, it’s a sign that he’s got what it takes to get to the potty on time. Eventually.
He may also start complaining as soon as he’s peeped or pooped – or even ask for a clean diaper. That’s another sign that he’s ready for a change from diapers to the potty.
Can your toddler dress and undress himself for potty success? Being able to pull down his pants and training pants and pull them back up again is another sign that all potty systems are go. Remember, every second will count when he’s gotta go.
Another sign: He’s able to talk the potty talk. Potty training will go a lot more smoothly if your toddler understands – and can say – certain key potty-related words and phrases like: wet, dry, dirty, clean, pee, poop, and go potty.
Some, though far from all, toddlers will also show an interest in using the potty – often because they’ve seen a sibling or friend do it, or because they want to be just like mommy or daddy.
By all means, take that as a sign that it’s time to begin your child’s potty education.
No matter when your toddler’s ready to take that giant leap out of diapers, keep in mind that potty training doesn’t typically happen overnight. There will be ups and downs, proud moments and messy accidents, steps forward and steps back.
Be patient, give it time, and let your toddler lead the way. Before you know it, those diaper days will be behind you both!
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