Two words have the power to invoke dread in every parent: potty training. June is National Potty Training Awareness Month (yes, really), so what better time than the present to talk about it? If your little one is around two or three years old, you’ve probably been wondering when to start potty training, or at least started thinking about it in general.
The most important thing is this: wait until the child is ready to start potty training. Otherwise, it will be an exercise in futility and frustration for both of you. How do you know when your child is ready? Here are things to look for:
- your child doesn’t like a dirty diaper
- your child starts taking an active interest in watching other people going to the bathroom
- dressing him or herself
- they can give you cues (verbal or non-verbal) that they have to go to the bathroom
Here is a Potty Training Readiness Checklist that you can review, to gauge whether your child might be ready for potty training.
While some parents go all out and have a one-day, all-day potty training marathon, others do it gradually, in steps. Both are perfectly fine – it’s all about finding what works for you and your child. Before actually starting potty training, allow your child to warm up to the idea; go to the bookstore and pick out books about the potty, have him or her pick out their own training pants or underwear, and show them how to use the bathroom, step-by-step, explaining the whole process. Some parents find that starting potty training during a vacation or on the weekend can be easier than during the week, since there is ample time to sit in the bathroom, deal with accidents, provide encouragement and reinforcement, and more.
Before you start potty training, it’s always a good idea to stock up on things you’ll need. Here are some suggestions: portable kid’s potty, travel potty seat, a drink-and-wet potty doll (to go over using the potty with your child), training pants, toilet paper, wipes, bathroom books, and potty rewards like stickers should you choose to go that route. For boys, some parents use Cheerios or Froot Loops to help “aim.”
When did you know your child was ready to start potty training, and what are some must-haves and tricks to help make it easier?