Potty training is an exciting and terrifying milestone for toddlers and parents. Not every child will take this big, new step at exactly the same time. But the trick to successful toilet training is knowing when your child is ready to start. Here are a few signs to look out for.
Physical signs of readiness
When your child begins to have longer periods of dry diapers, especially during a nap or overnight, that is a sign that he or she has enough bodily control to begin using the toilet. Your child should also be capable of taking off and putting on clothing without much assistance. Also, showing discomfort with wet or dirty diapers is another physical sign of readiness.
Talking about it
Your child is likely ready to begin potty training when he or she begins taking an interest in what you are doing when you use the toilet. Your child may ask questions about your toilet habits and you can use the opportunity to discuss using the potty. Another sign to look out for is when your child asks to be changed. Sometimes the toddler may even tell you when he or she is soiling the diaper.
Your child should be able to follow simple directions and answer questions, such as when you ask if he or she needs to go potty. Your child should also have words to describe bodily functions like "pee" and "poo."
Once your child shows interest in the toilet, encourage his or her thoughts with books and videos on the subject. When your toddler seems prepared, then you can begin training by whatever method seems best for you and your child. If you plan to go with a quick, boot-camp style training be sure to avoid starting when you are traveling, or when your child is sick, like with a cold or flu, or is going through any other new changes. Remember, that no matter how may signs of readiness your child may be showing, potty training can still be a long process and it's okay to take a break and start again if the technique you are using doesn't seem to be working.
If you have any questions at all don't be afraid to discuss toilet training with your child's Atlanta-area pediatrician.