Well, as they say, if I knew the answer to this question
and I could apply it to every child, I’d be rich! The simple answer is
there no simple answer that can be applied universally. However, based
on our extensive research and experience we can offer the following advice
The majority of clinical research studies suggest that
you can expect that a normal, healthy toddler should be ready for potty
training between the ages of 18 and 27 months (some girls may even be ready
as early as 16 months) but that development signals are far more accurate
predictors than chronological age. (NOTE: Consult with your pediatrician
if your child has physical, mental or emotional challenges which might
affect this process.) They also agree that:
1. You shouldn’t wait until your son or daughter asks
to use the potty (they may be teenagers before this happens :>)
2. Language skills have little, or nothing, to do with
effective potty training, and
3. If you’re waiting for your two-year-old to become less
“stubborn”, they may be wearing diapers for a very long time!
Pediatricians have also identified other readiness signs.
Your toddler is probably ready for potty training if they:
1. Imitate others – especially Mom or Dad
2. Get frustrated when something, or somebody, is out
of place. For example, you might hear them say, “No, Daddy! That goes here!”
3. Try to undress themselves
4. Seem proud of their accomplishments
5. Appear curious about the toilet and genitals – theirs
6. Talk about pee pee and/or poo poo (or poop)
7. Display awareness when pee pee and poo poo are happening
– especially just before the fact
Additionally, if your toddler is able to sleep though
the night without wetting his/her pants it’s a good indication that they’re
TIP: If your toddler is still taking a bottle or cup to
bed with them or they’re in the habit of drinking right before bed, you
may still be waking up to wet diapers – even though they may actually be
ready for potty training. If this is the case, you’ll need to run a small
test. Stop giving them any liquids 2-3 hours before bed (Yes, it means
they’ll have to forgo that bottle). Then make sure to change their diaper
right before you put them down. This will make it easier for them to stay
dry through out the night and allow for a more accurate assessment. Remember
however, to check your toddler’s diapers right away when they wake up!
Now that you’ve determined that your child is indeed ready
let’s continue …
How do I know if I’m Ready?
Thanks for asking such a great question! As you probably
already know, success with anything requires planning, determination, commitment
and work. It is no different in this case.
There are a number of methods for potty training your
child but we advise that you choose one that is designed to significantly
compress your child’s learning time and ensure that the journey is a joyful
one – for both of you. And that’s exactly what will happen if you’re ready.
So before you begin make sure you’re ready to:
1. Commit to continuing the entire process even when you
don’t think you’re making any progress whatsoever… (and trust me, in the
beginning you’ll have your doubts!)
2. Prepare properly in advance – The preparation process
should not be onerous or expensive so this shouldn’t be a problem
3. Believe that potty training your toddler will be a
joyful celebration of an important milestone, not a headache… no matter
what your friends and family tell you
4. Devote at least two full days (even though in most
cases, tots really start to get the hang of it early in the evening on
the first day) to working with your toddler. Many of our clients prefer
weekends - a fine time to begin (unless there are too many distractions).
This means no distractions, no shopping, no cleaning, no car pooling… If
you have other children, it’s a great idea to get a babysitter or let them
spend a day with grandparents or friends.
5. Go it alone – This works best with one person teaching…
preferably a parent and the child. That’s it. Consistency is a key element
and that is best achieved using one teacher and few distractions.
Remember, children have an innate desire for independence!
No matter how stubborn your two-year-old is… they WANT to use the potty!
Copyright 2005 Mary Eule
About The Author
Mary Eule has spent her career helping people and businesses
by researching and writing help guides. She’s the founder of two successful
small businesses and an award-winning speaker. She’s the President of Strategic
Marketing Advisors, LLC . She has a BA in Journalism/English from the University
of Maryland and earned her a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
She is the co-author of a new guide for parents, "The Official BRIEFS Potty
Training Guide". Visit her website at: http://www.AskThePottyTrainers.com
to download her e-book, obtain more information or sign up for her monthly