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Potty Training Help

Articles - Potty Training - How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready To Be Potty Trained?

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How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready To Be Potty Trained?
 by: Mary Eule


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 and tips.

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 and yours

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 ready.

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?

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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! Good luck!

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: to download her e-book, obtain more information or sign up for her monthly newsletter.

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