Is Your Child Ready to Potty Train?

Like most moms, you’re probably counting down the days until you can potty train. But it’s important not to rush your child into this new stage. While the average age for potty training is 2 to 3, some children are ready months earlier, while others may still be in diapers at age 4. Every child is different.

Fortunately, your child will give you signs that he’s ready to ditch his diapers and learn the big-kid method for using the toilet. Keep the following potty training advice in mind while you navigate this new stage of your child’s bathroom business.

Look for a change in bathroom behaviors

As your child starts to gain control over his bowel and bladder movements, you’ll notice that the number of dirty diapers you have to deal with drops. This is a green light for introducing potty training. Around this same time, many children may also move away from dirtying their diaper on the spot and instead want to go in private. So don’t be surprised if you find your child crouched in a corner or alone in his bedroom immediately before he dirties his diaper. Your goal: Catch him squirming before he goes, and gently suggest sitting on the potty to see what happens.

Watch how he reacts to a wet or dirty diaper

As your child becomes more aware of how his body works, he’ll make it clear that he needs a diaper change by either pointing or saying that he’s gone. He’ll also probably quickly become frustrated or uncomfortable after he goes, and might try to take off his own diaper. It may feel weird or embarrassing, but you can help your child make the potty connection by allowing him to be in the bathroom with you while you use the toilet.

Wait until your child wants to start

As your child becomes more independent, he’ll want to start doing everything himself -- including dealing with his own bowel movements. This move toward acting like a big kid will be obvious: Cries of “I want to do it!” and resisting your help with activities like putting on pajamas are tip-offs that your child may be ready to potty train. 

Remember that all children are different, and pushing your child to use the potty before he’s ready can backfire. Patience and dedication can help ensure success in potty training, but until then be ready to dole out lots of praise -- and perhaps keep the cleaning supplies on hand, too.