Is it time to potty train already? How did this happen? Wasn't it just yesterday that your baby was a squishy, helpless ball of love that needed you every hour of every day? Well, that age-old cliché of time "flying" when you're raising children, it turns out, is pretty damn true. One day you're feeding them their first bite of solid food, and the next minute your kid is showing you potty training cues you shouldn't ignore. Seriously, this kid can slow his roll whenever he's ready, because this mom certainly wouldn't mind a few more years before potty training (and everything that goes along with it) is an actual thing.
Potty training is tough. In fact, I would easily argue that it's one of the worst parts of parenting, at least early on (because I imagine those teenage years are going to be rough). It poses the potential to take both the parents and the children on an emotional roller coaster of doubt and disillusion (plus, it kind of requires that you invest far too much of your money on cleaning products). However, parents shouldn't beat themselves up if potty training isn't going well because almost every parent, at one point or another, wanted to give up and invest in a lifetime supply of diapers for their kid. I mean, it's normal to prepare your kid for college by packing some pull-ups, right?
And though there are countless methods and potty training tips out there, it can take some trial and error for you to figure out what works best for you and your child. The best way to start the process is to look for signs that your child is ready and interested in learning how to potty on their own. Here are just a few that I'm more than familiar with, but it is definitely worth mentioning that every kid is different, so if your baby or toddler isn't showing these signs, have no fear. Before you know it, whether you like it or not, potty training truly is just around the corner.
Your Child Has Fewer Wet Diapers
One way to tell whether or not your child is ready to begin potty training is by the amount of wet diapers you're changing in a day. As a child gets older, they may go less frequently but in bigger amounts. This is an indication that his or her bladder muscles have developed enough to hold more urine and, therefore, determine for themselves when they want to/have to go to the bathroom.
If your child is able to stay dry for two hours or longer, this may be a sign that they are physically ready to begin potty training.
Your Child Asks To Be Changed
Once kids mature a bit, they might start to ask you for a diaper change. They'll reach a point when they realize that they're wet or smelly and that it's not a feeling that they like. If your child is asking you for a diaper change, or even bringing the diaper to you, they may be ready to try the potty.
Your Child Tells You When They've Got A Wet Or Dirty Diaper
As previously mentioned, one of the physical signs that your child is ready to try potty training is when they will start to show distaste for being in a wet or dirty diaper. On the same note, if your child is telling you that they're wet or that they need a new diaper, that is a good sign that they're aware of what's going on down there and they dislike the feeling of not being dry.
Bowel Movements Become More Predictable
Once your child's bowel movements become more predictable they will likely be able to control them a bit more. Having regular bowel movements is a good sign that your child might be ready to use their potty, even if it's only to urinate in. It can take a while longer for kids to be able to comfortably pass a bowel movement on their toilet, but regular bowels are an indication they're at least ready to try.
Your Child Is Interested In How You Go To The Bathroom
One of the more subtle signs of potty training readiness, is a child showing interest in what's going on in the bathroom. If they want to follow you into the restroom to see what exactly you're up to in there, let them! Kids are more prone to learn by observing their parents actions, rather than heading their words. Let your child into the bathroom with you and tell them what you're doing. The more they see, the more they will understand that this is something that they want to be able to do.
Your Child Is Coordinated Enough To Try To Undress Themselves
Another physical sign of potty training readiness is physical coordination. No, most toddlers can not execute the pulling up of their pants seamlessly, but if they're able to do a decent part of it on their own, they are physically coordinated enough to sit down on and stand up from the potty, and pull up their pants and underwear afterwards.
Even if they actually are able to pee in their potty, they'll still be out of luck if they're unable to pull their pants down, and having an accident in their pants can be really hard on their confidence.
Your Child Wants To Do Things On Their Own
If your child is showing the desire to do things on their own, allow them the independence to do so. This is a subtle yet oh-so-important aspect of potty training. We all know that kids won't do something if they don't really want to, potty training included. However, if they are showing signs of independence and asking to do different things on their own, they may be getting ready to practice that independence in the bathroom.
They Show Physical Signs Of "Going Potty"
We all recognize the infamous "poop faces" that our kids display when they're going #2. Yes, they're kind of hilarious, but did you know that they're also behavioral sign that your child knows when they're doing and that they're somewhat able to control it? This puts your child one step closer to connecting the dots between knowing that he or she is going to the bathroom, and knowing what to do when that happens.
Your Child Can Follow Simple Instructions
Can your child understand simple instructions like "pick up the toy" or "bring me that book?" If so, they may also be able to understand simple directions that pertain to potty training. This is a big deal, because if your child doesn't understand how to follow instructions they're definitely not going to be able to grasp the steps of potty training, just yet.
Your Child Is Communicating Effectively
Does your child know what the words "pee" and "poo" mean yet? If they are able to name and understand these terms, that is a good cognitive sign that they're starting to get the picture of what's happening with their bodies. If you can have conversations with your child and have a basic understanding of what the other is saying, it might be a good time to start talking about the potty and introducing it into their routines.
Potty training is different for everyone and no two kids are the same. If your child is exhibiting one or all of these signs, it might be time to at least introduce the concept to them. Just try to remember that there will be set backs but, eventually, your kid will figure it out in their own time.