While many parents feel pressure to toilet train by a certain age, the process looks different for each family. While some children are ready early on, others wait until age three or even later to give up diapers. Ultimately, each family must decide for themselves when the time for toilet training is right. Still, you may be wondering how you will know when your child is ready to use the toilet. These are some major indications that your son or daughter can take on the challenge successfully.
Showing interest in toilet training is a great indication that the child is ready to cooperate with parents and other caretakers in toilet training. Some children will express clear interest while others may need more encouragement. Also, other children may show interest when they are not yet physically capable of toilet training. Therefore, while interest is a great tool for collaboration, it isn’t required for successful training, nor is it enough on its own to indicate it is time to train.
Sensing the Urge to Go
Does your child hide in a corner when he or she is dirtying a diaper? Perhaps you’ve noticed they grab at their diapers or say their bellies hurt right before it’s time for a change. These are all good signs that your child is aware of the bodily signals that indicate it is time to eliminate. This awareness is essential for successful toilet training. If your child is not aware of the urge to go, they may still be ready to train. When you notice them dirtying a diaper, point out what has happened without judgment. This allows the child to notice the signs without negativity.
If your child wakes from naps and overnights with dry diapers, this shows a good bladder capacity. The ability to stay dry for hours at a time and while sleeping indicates that they could probably toilet train. You may even take advantage of this dryness to begin training, sitting them on the toilet after removing the dry diaper. A full bladder will increase the likelihood of toilet successes.
Asking to Be Changed
A child who is uncomfortable in wet or dirty diapers is motivated to avoid them, making this an excellent time to teach the alternative to soiled diapers. For example, ask your child to collaborate with you to get them to the toilet before they need to go. For some children, this will be enough motivation to lead to toilet training effectively and completely in a short amount of time.
Other Necessary Skills
While some parents choose to train very small children before they can use the bathroom independently, typically the goal is toilet independence shortly after training. With this in mind, there are other skills that a child needs to be successful. First, a child needs the verbal ability to express a need for the toilet. Second, certain motor skills are essential. These include the ability to pull pants and underwear up and down and get on and off of the selected toilet (whether training or regular sized). Finally, if a child is very resistant to toilet training, it may not be worth attempting. Ultimately, a child is in control of his or her body. A power struggle over toilet training can lead to shame or continuing conflict that damages relationships.
Most parents dream of diaper-free days. However, without the appropriate skills and signs of readiness, toilet training may be doomed to fail. Every family must choose their own timeline. As a mom or dad, you can make the best decision for your family. If you are looking for childcare professionals who will support you in your efforts to raise happy, healthy, and well-adjusted children, visit any of our Legacy Academy locations. We look forward to partnering with you and your child.