In one of the previous articles, we talked about some of the characteristics that can help you determine if your child is ready to begin potty training. Most of those dealt with physical readiness, but let’s now talk about some of the mental/emotional characteristics.
Can your child follow simple instructions?
We used to ask our son to take a snack plate (plastic one) from the living room to the kitchen and put it in the sink. I think he had as much fun with this as we did. Either way, it’s an example of being able to follow simple instructions.
Does he recognize phrases relating to going to the bathroom?
Pee pee, poo poo, wet, dry–you get it.
Does your child care that he has a dirty diaper?
This is a big one. Frustration cause by a wet/dirty diaper is great motivation.
Does he ask simple questions?
Who, what, when, where, how and mostly commonly, Why?
Does your child imitate behavior?
If he does, potty training will probably be easier. Your child can learn a lot by watching and then trying it himself.
Is he curious about the bathroom?
As unexciting as this room is to an adult, it’s fascinating to a child. If he’s showing interest in what the toilet is and what it’s used for , he’s probably ready to use it himself.
Is it a stressful time for the child/family?
It’s important to start potty training at a time that’s good for both you and your child. If your family has just moved or your child has just started a new day care/preschool, it might be a good idea to wait until things have calmed down a bit.
The above guidelines should help you accurately gauge when your child is ready to start potty training. But of course it’s not an exact science.
With our first boy, there were a couple of false starts. We thought he was ready and then a few days later, when no progress was being made and everything was a battle, we said, “Ok, Let’s take a break and start this thing again in a few weeks/months.”
This was the best decision we could have made. Forcing the issue would only have resulted in anger and frustration all around.
When your child is ready, he’s ready. And chances are when he’s ready you will be too. Knowing how to make this determination will only make the process easier and less stressful.