It’s one of the biggest ironies in parenting life that potty training takes place just as your child is developing a mind of their own, throwing the odd tantrum and starting a love affair with the word ‘no’!!  However, as one of the skills and developmental stages that your child can’t learn on their own, it’s our joyous task to show our children the wonders of the toilet (via the potty), and in order to make the transition from nappy to potty as successful as possible, you’ll want to know that your child is ready – but what exactly does that mean, and what are the signs that you should be looking out for?

Is my child ready for potty training?

As a guide, your child may be ready to start between 18 and 24 months, when they have the physical and cognitive capability and understanding to be able to hold on when necessary and also go at the right time.

The very last thing as parents that we want to do is pressure our little ones too early, but if you leave it too late, that can cause problems too.  So how will you know your child is ready to start?’ There are a number of things to look out for:

  • Fewer larger wees, rather than lots of little ones, as this is a sign they are learning to hold on.
  • Being able to follow simple instructions and ask for things, like a drink, is a good sign.
  • Many children also show signs that they know they are doing a wee or a poo – look out for the ‘potty dance’!  These, combined with being around the age of two, usually mean children are ready to start.
  • Bowel movements are regular, well formed and at roughly the same times each day.
  • Having dry periods through the day – if the nappy is dry between changes, it’s likely the the bladder muscles are sufficiently developed.

It’s not just physical signs that you need to look out for.  Think about how well developed your child is in terms of their understanding, ability to communicate and to sit still!  If they’re interested in other family members’ bathroom activities, don’t like the feeling of a wet nappy, respond well to praise and are generally co-operative, it could be a good time to give it a go.