You've been changing diapers for so long now, you wonder if there will indeed be a day when your baby will start using the potty. There is no specific age for children to show the inclination for potty training, but most develop the required skills between 2 to 3 years of age. This is when many parents start potty training as they notice improved bladder control in their kids. However, many kids don't show any interest in potty training until they are 3 or 4 years old. It is best to start when your child is ready, otherwise you will end up spending a lot of time and energy with barely any results. Before the child completes the first year of their lives, they are unable to control their bowel movements. Even if they stay dry during the daytime, they might not show the same sign during the night. Therefore, most people prefer to view day dryness and night dryness as separate milestones in the potty training process.
If you're a mom who's already into her next pregnancy, the morning sickness, and general uneasiness can make changing diapers seem like a torturous activity. If your child is showing a basic tendency of independence and a primary understanding of what it takes to go to the bathroom, you can begin your attempts to potty train your baby as gently as possible. Look for some of the signs mentioned in the list below. They might help you make a decision.
15 You're Not Constantly Changing Diapers
Kids tend to pee frequently up to the age of 1.5 years, and expecting them to control their bladders during this time is unrealistic. However, after the 1.5 year mark, check if your baby can stay dry for about two hours at a stretch. If they can, the next step is to check if they can occasionally spend a full night in dryness. If you can tick off both these checkpoints, your baby is probably ready for potty training, as these are signs that their bladder muscles are developed and able to hold urine for longer periods.
14 Your Baby Is Uncomfortable in a Dirty Diaper
If your baby is getting increasingly uncomfortable in a dirty diaper and attempting to take off the diaper by themselves, it's a great sign of potty training readiness. When your baby takes the diaper off, let them watch what you do with it as you throw the poop in the potty. This way they can get an understanding of where it needs to go. Motivate your kid with their favorite toy or snack and praise them for understanding the feeling of being uncomfortable in the dirty diaper. If possible, also communicate to them that if they use the potty, they will not have to put up with the yucky feeling.
13 Your Baby is Steady While Walking
When your baby first learns to walk, they are always a little off balance, and tend to fall when they're excited or throwing a tantrum. However, if your baby's physical skills are developed enough to walk steadily or even run, this can be a green signal for potty training.
12 Your Baby Celebrates Small Accomplishments
Most children learn to clap their hands happily when they do something that is a novelty for them, like stacking a pile of toys, throwing a ball or even something as small as pushing open a door. Look for signs of longing for independence in your child as this is also an important emotional factor deciding whether your child is ready for using the potty and not being dependent on you to clean up. Give little tasks to your child that they can do by themselves and see if they enjoy them, like feeding the fish or fetching the ball. This will encourage the child towards independence.
11 There is a Pattern to Your Baby's Poop
A regular pattern of bowel movements can help you be prepared, not only for changing, but also trying out the potty the next time you anticipate your child is ready to poop. It could be that your baby poops first thing in the morning, or after every meal. Once you are able to predict the timing, things will be much smoother from there on. Sit them on their potty and encourage them to sit, maybe read a short story, and let nature do the rest.
10 The Restless Phase Has Passed
Your baby should have calmed down enough to sit in one place for a couple of minutes. If they're still in the phase where they cannot sit quietly and constantly want to run around playing, it's probably not the right time for them to potty train. You don't want your baby running around with their potty.
9 Your Baby Can Communicate
While some kids pull off their dirty diapers to show their unease, others attempt to communicate with their parents when they've dirtied them. This is a good sign, as it means they're one step closer to telling you beforehand that they need to go. Once they're able to do so, take them to the bathroom and explain that this is the right place to come when they get that particular feeling. If they're able to identify their bowel movements, it will make your life a lot easier.
8 Your Child Shows Interest in the Bathroom
At some point, your child might start noticing when you or someone in your family goes to the bathroom. They might even want to accompany you to the bathroom to see how you do it. Don't express shock at the child's interest. Just take them to the bathroom and show them how to flush or wash hands. This might encourage your child to visit the loo, and try out the process for themselves.
7 Your Child Is Able to Undress Without Your Help
This is very important because using the potty will not hold any meaning if your child is not able to pull down their trousers, skirts or underwear. Teach them how to quickly get out of their bottoms and explain how this needs to be done before sitting on the potty.
6 Check If Your Baby Is Willing to Try the Potty
Keep the potty in your baby's view as much as possible to build their curiosity about it. If you see them touching it or asking questions about it, try making them sit on it from time to time. If all goes well, you can try to make them sit on it, the next time they want to poop. If they're willing to try, this is great news, and start encouraging this. However, if they're vehemently opposed to the idea of sitting on the potty, you might want to wait out for a month or two before trying again, so that they don't associate an unpleasant experience with it.
5 Your Child Behaves Differently When They're Going
Does it become obvious to you when your child is pooping? Your child might start isolating themselves and make weird noises when they're on the job. This often gets comical and might become a joke in your family! Your baby starts treating the act like it is an event. They might even go to the bathroom to be alone while doing it. While you might share a laugh over it, this is a major sign that your baby is quite ready for potty training.
4 Your Kid Enjoys Using Potty Language
If your child finds words like "poop," "wee wee," or "pee" really amusing and loves using them, try to explain to them what they actually mean. If they can understand the meaning, it will become easier for them to associate these words with the bathroom trips and the relevant parts of their body. Every time they poop, repeat some of these words and lead them to the potty.
3 Your Child Can Follow Instructions
Can your child understand and obey a simple instruction like "fetch the ball from the garden?" If they can, their cognitive skills are developing at a good pace and they might be able to comprehend the suggestion to use the potty next time they give you the number signal.
2 Your Kid Is in the Cooperative Phase
As your child becomes a little mature, they will start respecting your orders. Potty training is good to start when they're in this particular phase where they listen to you and act according to your directive in at least six out of ten instances during the day. If they're in a completely negative mode, where they don't want to understand what you're telling them at all, or do exactly the opposite of what you expect, it is better to wait out this phase rather than give yourself a difficult time.
1 Your Child Understands 'Everything in Its Place'
It is important to teach your baby that there is a place for everything in your home, from their clothes to their toys. Show them how the food is in the kitchen while their bed is in the nursery. Once they learn the importance of putting everything in its rightful place, they will be able to grasp the concept of using the potty faster.