My little one was eating solids, walking around, and (gasp) sleeping longer stretches at night.
I officially waved goodbye to babyhood and said hello to toddlerhood.
Just as I went to grab a cup of tea and congratulate myself, I realized that I had another big step on the horizon: potty training.
Maybe you’re noticing that:
- You’re toddler is ripping off her diaper and refusing to put it back on.
- Maybe this means it’s time to start potty training?
- You’re little one is two years old and her friends are getting potty trained.
- Maybe now’s the time?
How do you know if YOUR child is really ready to potty train?
As a preschool teacher, I got asked this question ALOT. Then, I had my own kids and I was asking myself the same question! The thing is, not every kid is the same. I always asked other parents (and myself) these basic questions before starting to potty train. With my son, I really needed to go through this list!
5 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE POTTY TRAINING
1.Can they sleep through the night dry?
This is one of those “easy to catch” signs that a child is getting ready to potty train because you know that your child can hold their pee for extended periods of time (they need to be able to do that in order to make it to the potty).
My son would wake up SOAKED every morning, so I figured that he wasn’t ready to potty train. What I didn’t realize is that he was peeing the moment he woke up. He was probably ready earlier than I thought! But, this isn’t always the “best” sign to look for, it’s one of many…
2. Are they watching you pee?
If you can’t enter the bathroom without your toddler following behind, it might be more than them wanting to be with you every second (maybe). It turns out that most kids learn how to go potty by watching us – specifically, their mom. Even though I know you want to pee alone, there’s value to letting your child watch you.
Talk about what you’re doing. Tell them this is where people go when they have to go pee (be specific. If you say, “go potty” they might not associate that with going pee.) Remember, these guys are literal, so keep it simple.
3. Are they refusing their diaper?
When kids are older and more aware of their bodies, they might shed their diapers. Suddenly, they feel how wet and heavy their diaper is after they pee, so they take it off. This is a good thing! It’s a sign that they prefer to feel dry OR that they don’t like the feel of a diaper.
Encourage them to keep their diaper off, but remind them that if they DON’T have a diaper on, they use the potty instead.
Here’s the little trick that I use when they don’t want to wear their diaper:
- If they say: I don’t want to use the potty! or NO POTTY!
- You say: Okay! Diaper back on.
Be firm that if they take their diaper off, that means they need to try to use the potty instead.
Note: Use the diaper shedding to your advantage and buy a few starters undies to try. Instead of putting back on their underwear, use these thicker underwear that will help pad any accidents they’ll have. (affiliate links)
4. Are they motivated by positive peer pressure?
In other words, are they interested in what their peers are doing? If so, make sure to point out when a peer uses the potty. Not to compare or pressure them, but by saying something fun like, “Oh, Vanessa, is wearing underwear – I love the hearts on them.” or “Vanessa just went on the potty. You can try that too!”
5. Are they TOTALLY CLUELESS?
I thought my son would never potty train because he just didn’t care. He wasn’t motivated by underwear like my daughter and he didn’t seem to “know” or feel when he had to pee.
More than that, he’d run away from me and say, “no, Mommy!” when he had to poop in his diaper. These were CLEAR signs from my son that he did not want to be pushed into potty training. It just wasn’t the right time. I used a lot of tactics that I used when I was in the classroom (I’ll write that post for you later this month. Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss it.). I knew that we could work through it eventually.
Be patient with these kids – potty training isn’t easy for them, but it is absolutely doable!
Once you’ve answered these questions, check out our post about what you need to know about potty training before you even start.
It’s the next step after answering these questions!
PS. Ready to jump in to potty training?
More Potty Training Posts from Happily Ever Mom