When to Start Potty Training

For many people potty training can seem like a daunting task, leaving us to wonder When to start? Where to start? and What to do. The other day I wrote a post about what gear is important to have when you start potty training; you can find that post hereThe most important thing to remember when you start potty training is that every child is different and there is not one way that works for everyone. With that being said there are guidelines to help us [parents] along the way.

Keep in mind… 

1. Children often gain control of their bladder between the ages of 18-24 months and sometimes after 30 months.

2.  Talking to your child about using the potty will help them understand what is expected. There are many great potty training books to choose from and a lot of them are tailored to boys or girls specifically.

3. Following your child’s cues is very important! Is he/she interested in what Mom/Dad/siblings are doing in the bathroom? This is a sign of readiness; it is a good idea to show your child that everyone uses the “potty” and this should reduce their anxiety around using the potty.

4. If your child can follow simple directions, and is showing interest it may be time to introduce him/her to the potty. When we first brought Henry’s potty home he would sit on it as long as he had his pants and diaper on but he did not like the idea of sitting on it without clothes. After a few days he was more comfortable with the potty and would sit on it with a bare bum.

5. DO NOT PUT PRESSURE on your child to pee or poop in the potty; they will use the potty correctly when they are ready and not a moment sooner. It is a great idea to encourage him/her to sit on the potty often through out the day but you must not expect that they do anything.

6. Be patient! [I can not stress this enough] Children often have anxiety about using the potty and it takes time for them to assure themselves that it is OK to pee and poop in the potty. They will get it eventually; trust in your child’s ability and do not force him/her to use it. The last thing you want is for your child to develop a fear of the potty. Follow your child’s lead; if they refuse to sit on the potty then take a break until he/she shows interest again.

7. Don’t give up, even if you really [really] want to. Take a deep breathe, know that potty training does not happen over night, and relax. Your child will learn to use the potty and will not go to school in diapers.

When we first started potty training H and he got over the initial fear of the potty he did really well with peeing in it; almost every time he sat on it he would pee. One day that all changed, he wanted nothing to do with the potty and would become quite upset if we asked him if he wanted to try. So we took a break and would occasionally ask him if he would try and use the potty; for the most part he would give us a strong “No”. Lately he has been asking to use the potty and when he sits on it he does go pee so it seems he is ready and our patience has paid off.

Good luck with your little ones!


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