Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Signs of Potty Training Readiness You Should Know About

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Think your child is ready for potty training? Here are the signs of potty training readiness you should watch for.

Potty training can be a big hurdle for many parents and caregivers. Some kids can be a breeze to train and others might need a bit more time.

You might have a two year old throwing diapers in your face and telling you, "No more diapers!" Or you might have a soon to be four or five year old who still needs support recognizing that it's time to go. It might be a smooth, peaceful potty training journey. Or it might be a bumpy ride with lots of ups and downs and frequent accidents.

Maybe you've already tried that toilet training method your friend said worked beautifully for their child...But all it did was leave you with loads of extra laundry, a pee stained couch, and nothing but tears and frustration for both you and your child. Remember, every child is different. What works for one child, might not work for another. And that's okay!

Besides, there could also be sensory issues, language delays, specific diagnoses, or even motor delays at play too. These things can impact potty training success. So while you might be ready for potty training, is your child? How do you know? 

Well, let's take a look at some of the signs of potty training readiness. That way you'll know if the time is right or whether or not you should wait a bit longer. Because, trust me, things go a whole lot smoother when your child is actually ready for potty training.

Signs of potty training readiness you should know about

Signs of Potty Training Readiness to Watch For

There are lots of different toilet training signs of readiness to watch out for.

It's also important to keep in mind that every child is unique (cliché, I know). But the right potty training age is whenever your child is actually ready!

However, you, as a parent or caregiver, also need to be ready to help the child learn how to use the potty. Potty training requires you to be patient and alert. If you're not mentally and physically ready yourself, then it might not be time to start potty training, even if your child is showing the following signs.

But I'm going to assume you're ready to go since you're here reading this list of signs of readiness for potty training in the first place...so let's dig in!

Signs of being ready for potty training

1. Shows an interest in wanting to use the potty

One of the best signs of being ready for potty training is that the child is showing an interest in actually wanting to use the toilet. They might be curious about the toilet/potty and/or underwear. Here are some more specific signs to watch for:

  • Curious about watching you or others go to the potty
  • Willing to use the toilet or try sitting on it
  • Asks/wants to wear underwear
  • Refuses to wear diapers
  • Can get on the toilet, stay on it, and get off the toilet
  • Tells you they want to learn to use the potty
  • Tells you that they're done with diapers 
  • Interested in books about poop or using the potty

2. Can communicate toileting needs

Another key sign of toilet training readiness is that the child can communicate about their toileting needs, either verbally or non-verbally. They might verbalize when they have to go or have gone. Or they might use physical signals that you have to watch out for. You will have to pay attention to your child's behavior and body language to watch for these signals. Here are some specific examples of what to look for:

  • Hides to pee or poop, such as going into a corner
  • Grunts
  • Appears to be pushing (red face, clenched fists, and/or tense face)
  • Suddenly stops playing, stands still, and/or goes quiet
  • Tells you they have pooped or peed afterwards
  • Tells you they are pooping or peeing while they are going
  • Tells you they have to poop or pee and are about to go
  • Runs towards the toilet
  • Uses potty related vocabulary
  • Understands that pee and poop go in the toilet
  • Grabs the front of their diaper as if to hold in their pee
  • Whines, points, or tries to get your attention

3. Stays dry for longer periods

If your child is staying dry for longer periods, then they might be ready for potty training. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Changing fewer wet diapers
  • Wakes up dry from naps
  • Wakes up dry in the morning
  • Stays dry for longer than usual or for two or more hours at a time

4. Has a predictable toileting schedule

Does your child seem to have to poop at the same time every day? Do they seem to have a consistent routine of when they have to go? Then they might be ready for toilet training. Watch for these specific signs:

  • Has predictable bowel movements
  • Seems to pee shortly after waking up from a nap
  • Has to pee shortly after drinking water

5. Seems uncomfortable with wet or dirty diapers

Some kids might not be bothered by a wet or dirty diaper. That means they're not yet ready for toilet training. On the other hand, kids who seem really uncomfortable or bothered by dirty diapers are definitely showing signs of readiness for toilet training. Look for these specific signs:

  • Complains about wet or dirty diapers
  • Asks to be changed or tells you they need a new diaper
  • Pulls at wet or dirty diapers
  • Removes their dirty diaper on their own
  • Digs inside their diaper
  • Refuses to wear diapers
  • Absolutely hates wearing a dirty diaper for even a few minutes after soiling it

6. Can pull pants down and up independently

Besides the interest in potty training and showing physical signs of readiness, you need to make sure other skills are in place. For instance, the child should be able to pull pants down and up on their own.

7. Can follow basic directions

It's also important that your child is able to follow basic directions. After all, potty training is made up of multiple steps including pulling pants up and down, sitting on the toilet, flushing the toilet, washing hands after, etc. If they can't yet follow basic directions, they might not be quite ready enough to begin toilet training.

Signs of readiness for toilet training

Think Your Child is Ready? This Potty Training Visual Schedule Kit Can Help!

Is your child showing a lot of the signs from above? Then it might be time to start toilet learning. This potty training visual schedule kit from my friend Katie of Preschool Inspirations is a great resource to help you get started. It can be used to help establish potty training habits and routines.

Potty training visual schedule kit

Click here to get a copy of the Potty Training Visual Schedule Kit

Hopefully you find these signs of potty training readiness helpful. Good luck!

Other Potty Training Resources You Might Find Helpful

Potty Training Tips for Hyperlexic Kids

Free Potty Training Visual Schedules

Free Potty Training Social Stories

Signs of potty training readiness you should know about