Potty Training 101: How Do You Know When Your Prince or Princess Is Ready For the Throne?

As a Preschool Teacher I'm not new to the world of potty training.  With experience in guiding quite a few children towards this milestone- I've witnessed children as young as 17 months have self-trained and others as "old" as 4 years have struggled to use the toilet consistently. Yet when it was time for my own Princess Destructo to train I felt more nervous than excited.  Which is probably why it didn't work out the first time around, or the second or third for that matter.  How do you know when your child is really ready?  Forcing a child before they are ready (and this may not have anything to do with age) can only lead to failure.

Evaluate the Readiness Signals:
If you can answer yes to two or more of these questions, your child may be ready.
  • Is your child hiding away before going #1 or #2? 
  • Are they telling you that they have gone and/or asking to be changed? 
  • Are they asking questions about your bathroom habits and showing interest in the toilet? *Other than flushing their cars down there.
  • Is your child able to follow simple directions?  
  • Are their BM's regular or predictable?
  • Are they staying dry for regular periods of the day or night? (Waking up dry from nap, staying dry for 2 hours or more through out the day.)
Determine & Examine Your Expectations:
  • Is it the right time for your family?
  • Do you have a timeline in your head? The process could take as little as a week,or as long as two months, or even more.
  • Do you have major life events that will effect your child's life in near future.  Big changes in routine could effect the potty training schedule. {For example if I was starting a new job in a few days, moving, or preparing to bring a new baby home-I definitely wouldn't start potty training.}
  • Are you prepared for setbacks and to change your game plan completely?  I may have misread the signs last summer, or she may have had a setback because of anxiety.  She was excited to pick out and use the pink Dora Potty.  But when it came to actually using it, she shook with fear and ended up in tears.  As her third birthday approaches we are now revisiting the whole potty training game.  We've changed our approach to ease her anxiety.  I had hoped to train her directly on the toilet, while using the adapted, child-sized seat.  We've back-pedaled and are now letting her "sit potty" on the floor instead.
Celebrate Every Success!
I would have done a cartwheel when Princess finally went potty for the first time. Instead I act the fool and do a crazy potty dance and give her smarties or stickers. She gets to choose the rewards.
Is anyone else going down the potty training mile?  Do you have any tips for me?


Jessica @ TheCrazyChaoticHouse said...

I don't have any tips but we are going through potty training hell. Well we are almost there....it's #2 he is having problems with. My little guy is almost 4 and we thought he was ready at 2 when he started saying pee and going in the toilet BUT nope he was not ready. We really started at the beginning of summer and are almost there but now we have to work on the night time things....oh geeze thats going to be a problem I just know it.

Anonymous said...

The other night she asked to go on, shook a little with fear because she thought she'd fall in, didn't go and wiped anyway. I figured it was a step in the right direction! Next time I went into the bathroom, the toilet paper was halfway across the bathroom floor.


Mimi said...

Yes, she's getting better. I figure it will happen naturally :)

Mimi said...

Jessica, I found that most boys have a harder time with #2 and I'm not sure why. About 80% of the boys I've helped train were reluctant to BM on the potty or toilet for months after mastering the pee. Keep at it :)

Anonymous said...

Which came first? chicken or the egg