When should you start potty training? It’s an important question, and no parents will have the same answer. When it comes down to it, there is no set “right time” to potty train your son or daughter.
Potty training varies for every family and every child. But once you observe some potty training readiness behaviors, you’ll know it’s time to move forward with your family’s potty training adventure.
6 Common Signs of Potty Training Readiness
If your child shows two or more of these signs, it’s a good indication that they’re ready to start potty training:
- Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper
- Hiding to pee or poop
- Showing Interest in others’ use of the potty, or copying their behavior
- Having a dry diaper for a longer-than-usual time
- Awakening dry from a nap
- Telling you that they’re about to go, are going or have just gone in their diaper
If you're still not sure if you are ready, take our Potty Training Readiness Quiz. This fun quiz will help you recognize some of these signs of potty training readiness and determine when it’s time to move forward with your family’s potty training adventure!
Are YOU Ready?
- When a child shows readiness, that’s a parent’s cue to start preparing the child by buying products such as a small potty, training pants and children’s books about using the toilet. You also can let your child practice on the potty.
- Surf the Potty Training Tips area of Pull-Ups.com for more advice and tips and take advantage of the learning games, quizzes and songs to help you motivate your child.
- Remember the basics of being a good coach for your potty trainer and keep things motivating right from the start by being patient, positive and consistent.
- Focus on what your child does right. Stay upbeat. You’ll make it smoother, simpler and more rewarding for both of you.
Things to Consider When Starting to Potty Train
So, don’t try to potty train when your child is already dealing with a lot of change. Here are 10 examples of when NOT to push potty training:
- Experiencing the birth of a sibling
- Moving into a new home or having other major family changes
- Transitioning from a crib into a Big Kid bed
- No longer using a bottle at night
- Being weaned from breastfeeding
- Stopping the use of a pacifier
- Starting at daycare or preschool or switching to a new school
- Experiencing illness
- Being in the middle of the holidays and there’s already a cascade of candy, many late nights and excitement in the air
- Feeling pressure from some external force — like a preschool or a well-meaning relative — to potty train your child, but your child is not ready
A Successful Start
- Keep it positive. Keep it fun. With a positive outlook and a little creativity, potty training really can be more about quality time. Find ways to encourage your child’s early interest.
- Play up the fun with activities like decorating the potty chair, picking out rewards or creating a special potty progress chart together.
- Use incentives. Don’t forget to load on the praise and rewards right from the start. Bragging rights and the expectation of applause are strong motivators to your child. So, find those moments to celebrate and share them with everyone in your child’s cheering section.
- Ready, Set ... Not Yet! If your child starts out fine but then gets hopelessly stuck, no worries! It’s not unusual for the potty chair to go back into the closet for weeks or even months. If your child loses interest, hold off for a few weeks and then try again.
- Learn more about regression here.