Most parents are all too ready to have their kids transition away from diapers and start using the restroom on their own. But rushing this milestone can actually be more harmful than helpful, experts say. So how do you know your child is ready to potty train? Keep an eye out for these 5 signs.
Your Child’s Pullup Stays Dry for 2+ Hours
If your child lets you know they need to go potty regularly and they are able to keep their diaper or pullup dry for 2 or more hours at a time, this is a good sign that they have developed good bladder control and are ready to be potty trained. Just make sure your child is still drinking plenty of fluids and their dry diaper isn’t due to dehydration.
Your Child Is Regularly Asking to Use the Toilet
Children who regularly ask to use the toilet might be ready to potty train. If your child is constantly following you to the bathroom or asks you questions about going potty, this is a good indication your child is interested in learning more about this skill. If your child is verbal, talk with them about using the potty. Answer their questions and keep everything casual. Read books about using the potty. You don’t want them to feel pressured to learn how to use the bathroom, but you do want to encourage their curiosity.
Your Child Lets You Know When They’ve Gone in Their Diaper
Has your child ever told you they just peed or pooped in their diaper and want you to change them? This awareness isn’t exactly a foolproof sign that your child is ready, but it does show they know what their body is doing and they don’t like staying dirty, which can set them up for potty training. Essentially, if your child tells you they just “went” in their diaper, potty training might be right around the corner!
Your Child Doesn’t Like Being “Dirty”
In conjunction with letting you know when they’ve gone, sometimes children who are ready to be potty trained are also extremely impatient for you to change them. This dislike of being “dirty” can be a great way to introduce the toilet, a wonderful invention that helps keep our bottoms as dry as possible!
To test your child’s readiness in this area, keep an eye on them throughout the day. When you see them getting quiet and starting to go in their diaper, offer the option to go in the potty. Don’t say “let’s go in the potty instead” or “You should go in the potty.” Instead, say: “Would you like to pee/poop in the potty instead so your bottom stays dry?” Little ones are very independent and will respond much better to a choice like this because it leaves them in control (Mommy/Daddy is letting me decide) and shows them the cause/effect of their bowel movements. (If I go in the potty, my bottom stays dry. If I go in my diaper, my bottom gets dirty.)
Your Child Wants to Wear Big Kid Panties vs. Diapers/Pullups
Let’s face it, graduating a child from their diaper/pullups to big kid underwear is a big, scary step for parents. But if your child expresses they want to wear underwear “just like Mommy/Daddy,” it might be time to purchase a set and give potty training a try! Have them help you pick a set with characters they like. Be sure to also explain that underwear aren’t like diapers (they won’t “catch” anything). You may be nervous to make this transition, but try to see it as a positive thing. Kids don’t grow up all at once, and this is just one small part of growing up.