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How Do I Know if My Child is Ready for Potty Training?

Written by Erica Desper – https://www.beaconfidentparent.com

As a potty training consultant, I am often asked by parents how to be sure that their child is ready for potty training. If you are wondering the same, here are a few things to consider. 

First, I suggest shifting your mindset from “is my child ready to learn this now?” to “is my child capable of learning this now?” In this learning process, you aren’t training your child to pee or poop – you are simply socializing them in terms of where to put it. To be fair, some kids will never tell or show you that they are ready to give up their super convenient set up of dropping it wherever and whenever in their security blanket of a diaper or pull up. So, asking yourself whether they are capable of, may be better than waiting for them show interest or say, “let’s do this Mom!” Imagine if you waited until your child was ready to go to bed, leave the house for errands or get buckled in the car seat! Sometimes we need to just say it’s time. So, how do you know if your child is capable? 

Here are five questions to ask yourself: 
*Are they between 20-30 months of age?
There is often a window of opportunity within this age range when they are in a lull from other developmental milestones (learning to walk, talk, etc.) and not working on too much else while still interested in mimicking Mom and Dad and aiming to please. Beyond this window, children go through a process of individualization which means they realize they are separate and distinct from you and begin to assert their free will which can lead to power struggles. Your goal is to capture your child when they are looking to imitate and willing to please and before they take pleasure in pushing ALL your buttons ALL the time!

*Are they well rested?
If your child is still struggling or newly struggling to get the right quantity and quality of sleep, I suggest you address that before embarking on potty training. An overtired child is not in the best position to cooperate or learn and master something new. 
*Can they communicate their needs?
Does your child ask for a snack when hungry or a drink when thirsty? This ability to communicate these types of needs will come in handy when they need to go and the diaper or pull up is no longer an option.

*Can they recite the ABC’s?
This is an indication that they’ve developed some language skills and can learn by repetition, both of which will be needed in this learning process.

*Do they retreat to a private place to poop?
This indicates that your child knows when they need to go in advance and is beginning to equate pooping with privacy and feeling a bit embarrassed. This is a normal and natural progression, but you want to begin training when you see this sign of readiness and give your child a socially acceptable solution. If you hesitate you may end up with a 5 year old who forgets to feel embarrassed and doesn’t mind pooping in his pants!

If you answered yes to all or even some of these questions, it may be time to dive in. Ultimately though YOU need to be convinced that your child is ready. If you aren’t, they may pick up on that uncertain or uncommitted vibe and the process will be messy at best. If you’re entering the process with a sense of fear, panic or dread, your child will quickly pick up on that too. You are not entering a battle or a test of your parenting skills. Rather, you are supporting your child through another developmental milestone. You will know when it’s time (and do not solicit opinions from. anyone. Especially not that Facebook Mommy group!) 

If you’d like to approach or troubleshoot the process with support, we’re here to help. Happy pottying!

For help, guidance and advice reach out to Erica Desper from https://www.beaconfidentparent.com