When you’re a parent to a toddler, this question will eventually come to mind for you: When will my child be ready to potty train? While there is no set “right time” to start potty training, there are some signs your child will show when they may be ready to begin the potty training adventure.
Take this fun potty training quiz to help you recognize some of the signs of readiness for potty training and determine when it’s time to move forward with your family’s potty training journey!
Potty Readiness is All About Your Child
While our potty training readiness quiz is a great way to learn when to start potty training, there are some important tips to know as well:
- Don’t focus too much on your child’s age. Every child is different. In general, start looking for signs of potty training readiness around your little one’s second birthday. Very few kids are ready to potty train before age 2. And once your child is ready to start, just know that the potty training journey can take about 8 months from beginning to success. About 50 percent of kids are completed potty trained at age 3 (other than the occasional accident, of course!), but almost all finish by age 3½. Usually, girls accomplish potty training about 3 months earlier than boys.
- Be patient! Sometimes kids seem ready to start but after showing a lot of enthusiasm for their new potty process, they lose interest! This is time for a pause, and reset your expectations. You may need to wait a few more weeks or months to see if your child’s interest in their own potty emerges again. In the meantime, don’t worry, this is not at all unusual. It’s ok to take a break for a few weeks and try again.
- Consistency is key. While consistency in your approach is important, such as sticking to Pull-Ups® training pants once you’ve transitioned them from diapers, no amount of cajoling or forcefulness will ever convince a child to potty train before they’re ready. NONE! And research shows that waiting a little longer to introduce potty training to your child can actually increase your chances of long-term success.
- Talk to your child about needing to use the potty. While you might notice your toddler squatting or wiggling when they have to use the bathroom, little kids don’t necessarily recognize that as the urge to go. Guide them by asking, “do you feel like you’re going to go pee in your diaper?” Help them recognize that they’re sensing signs from their body and you understand what they need.
- Describe the signals. Your toddler has to have enough maturity to recognize their body’s signs and that’s where you come in, parent, to help guide them with that skill. Be sure to be vocal about when you need to go to the bathroom. Say things like, “My tummy feels a little funny; I think I need to go potty!” Know that some kids start training before they recognize the urge, and attempt “tries” on the potty. If they want to do the same, let them. Just getting them to associate going over to the potty and getting ready to go is a big step toward success.
How to Start Potty Training
When you’re confident that your child is ready to start potty training, a plan can make the journey smoother and fun for you both! Keep it creative. Before you officially make the move to the potty, prepare your game plan!
- Prepare for kickoff. These fun ways to start potty training can help build excitement for your toddler. Think about what will appeal most to your little one—would they like a sticker chart? Colorful potty training certificates? Or a fun “going to the potty” song you make up together. Knowing your child’s potty training personality helps too. Get ready to think outside the box!
- Hit your favorite store! Make sure you have everything you need for successful potty training before the big day. Our shopping list can help you remember all the essentials including Pull-Ups® training pants and a potty seat or child-size potty chair. While it can be tempting to grab what you need on a regular run to the store, consider making it an event with your toddler.
- Shop together for this transition: Special time with just Mom or Dad is important to little ones and taking a trip to the store together just for potty training essentials (not that gallon of milk or loaf of bread you need!) can help build excitement for what’s ahead.
- Make a game of it. Check out these potty training games for fun and easy ways you can add some creativity with an little friendly competition to your journey. The Pull-Ups® Scavenger Hunt is a great way to familiarize your child with all the things they’ll need for going to the potty, and the “Which Is Faster?” game can help them learn that using the potty is faster than using diapers. In other words, it can help them get back to playing faster!
- Celebrate Milestones. Kick off the big potty training journey by celebrating milestones along the way with a call from your child’s favorite Disney character. As you’re starting to potty train your child, remember three important tips: Consistency, patience, creativity and encouragement.
Let’s be honest: There will be some tough moments for you both. Stay encouraged! Potty training doesn’t happen overnight. But with a positive attitude, lots of love and the ability to find shared joy in each little success, it can be a great experience for you both!