Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is Your Child Ready To Potty-Train?

One thing you've probably learned by now is that every child is different. We can have some *basic* ideas about when something is 'supposed' to occur (first steps, weaning off the bottle, sleeping through the night, etc), but they all happen when your child is ready for them. Potty training is no different. This is a unique milestone because, unlike first steps or first words, it comes about over time and takes work on your part as well as for your child. It tends to take place between 20 and 30 months of age, but it's not something you can 'force'. It has to happen when your child is ready for it. How can you tell when your child is ready to potty train? Here are a few things to look for.

  • Does your child know when he is 'in the process' of urinating or defecating? Potty training is the time when kids learn to control these bodily functions, but they have to realize when the processes are about to happen before they can learn what to do about them.
  • Can she walk or run well? Little children tend to have quick 'urges', so she'll need to be able to get to the bathroom on her own so that she doesn't have an 'accident'.
  • Can your child focus on an activity for several minutes before getting distracted and going off to do something else? I probably don't have to tell you why this is important!
  • Can he easily get his pants up or down? He may have already started trying to pull at them, so this isn't hard to learn.
  • Can he follow simple instructions, such as getting up to the dinner table or coming when called? We probably don't notice them because we've been doing them for so long, but there are a lot of 'steps' to the process of using the bathroom. He needs to learn when and how to do things such as enter the bathroom, pull down his pants and underwear, actually sit on the toilet, clean himself afterward, flush and wash his hands, along with anything else I may have left out. If he can follow simple general directions, you are one step closer to teaching him these specific ones.
  • Above all, does she show an interest in it? She might want to know what you are doing when she sees you go into the bathroom and follow you in. This might seem strange to you at first, but it means that she has a desire to learn about it. Also, does she notice when she is dirty and want to be dry and clean? Does she see your 'big girl panties' and want some of her own? This is a big sign of interest because you can use it as an 'incentive' to learn to use the bathroom by herself.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but these are a few of the signs your child may be ready to begin potty training. Exactly how long the process takes differs from child to child, but it doesn't have to be a frustrating one.

1 comment:

  1. It wasn't entirely that difficult with my son. Though I know that this is something many parents have a hard time with.