'When is the right time to begin?' is one of the most common potty training questions. The answer will be different for each child as many factors contribute to when they’re ready to begin potty training.
Research shows that bladder capacity increases significantly between the ages of two and three, so by three most children are able to hold on and be dry for a reasonable amount of time. But while, on average, most children begin learning to use a potty between 24 and 36 months, and the average length of toilet training is about three to six months, each child is different. It’s vital that you begin only once your child is ready.
Don't feel pressured to start potty training just because your child has reached a certain age or because of comments from peers - you'll have more success if you wait until your child shows you that he's ready. First of all, look for periods of dryness and other signs of readiness and bear in mind the following:
Your child needs to be able to understand what they are feeling when they sense the urge to go. They need to be able to move around independently and be able to pull their Huggies® Pull-Ups® or pants up and down with little or no assistance. It’s also helpful if their bowel movements are fairly predictable.
Watch for behavioural indicators like grimacing when they are about to have a poo or shifting their weight from one foot to another when they need to wee. Help them understand that this is their body's way of telling them what is about to happen.
They need to be able to imitate your behaviour and show an interest in using the toilet. Forcing a reluctant toddler to toilet train is only going to create a battle for everyone and may turn the toilet into an object to be feared. It is not unusual for a child showing signs of readiness to go away into a quiet corner to poo.
A child needs to be able to recognise that other people use the toilet when they want to wee or poo; a good way to familiarise them with this is to tell them when you need to go to the toilet and to let them watch you.
Finally, it’s important for them to be able to express the need to go to the toilet and follow simple instructions such as 'let's go to the potty'.
If your not sure if your child is ready use these 8 Signs of Readiness as a guide; if your little one is showing you 3 or more of these cues, then it’s time to begin…
1. Your child stays dry for two hours or more at a time, or is dry after a daytime nap.
2. Your child tells you in words or by behaviour that wearing a wet nappy is uncomfortable, and needs changing.
3. Your child asks to use the potty or the toilet.
4. You usually know when your child is likely to have a poo.
5. Your child asks to wear potty training pants or normal underwear.
6. Your child can understand and follow simple instructions, like 'bring me the potty, please'.
7. Your child can show in behaviour, or can use words, to let you know they need a wee or a poo.
8. Your child can put on some of their clothes on unaided.
For more information on the different stages of potty training and for ideas to help make the experience easier, please click here.