As someone who makes a living managing family dynamics, I can tell you the task of potty training is often met with one of three reactions by parents:
1. Dismay...when your toddler is ready and you simply aren't. (Can't this wait until after your siblings are finished school in June?!)
2. Relief...you've been ready but your toddler continued to ignore the potty and all attempts up until now. (FINALLY! I have been waiting (im)patiently for this day!)
3. Excitement...let's get rolling! (This is when the stars align, everyone is on the same page and it is ready, set, go!)
What you may not know is one most common mistakes is when potty training is driven more on the parents’ schedule rather than the toddler's. Who hasn't been guilty of trying to "schedule" it in? The most important thing to do before potty training is to let go of any of your timelines. When your toddler is ready, that's your cue to get down to business.
So how are we to know when they are ready? It isn't always obvious. Learning to recognize the signs is a great way to champion the next big kid stage and encourage an increased desire for independence.
Here are 10 signs to know your little one is getting ready to potty train:
Your little one is able to pull his pants up and down. Pull-Ups Pants are super helpful for this as they are similar to underwear. My son wears them and they give him more independence when it comes time to remove them (which can sometimes be a challenge when I need him to stay dressed!) Another sign: when your toddler tries to remove his diaper because of the discomfort.
Showing the ability to respond to the unpredictable—like catching a sneeze is a sign that demonstrates your little person's reaction time and the ability to control their body. Walking and running steadily also shows the ability to adjust and control themselves.
Once your toddler is able to do small tasks for themselves, like getting their own snack or cereal, is a cue.
This is a sign you will love! Two hours or more of having a clean diaper means your little one may be ready.
If your kid can sit down and play quietly by themselves for 2-5 minutes, it shows they can focus on a particular task. These times are nice, aren't they?
My little guy isn't quite two, but the day is approaching and he will completely be in the “I want to do it myself” stage. The desire for independent action is a big sign of readiness and may come earlier than expected. Hitting the ripe old age of two can sometimes be a magic number when it comes to potty training.
Asking to watch you go to the bathroom and having an interest in all things “bathroom” is another sure sign (don't be alarmed with this one!). Look out for when he is able to give a shout out (physical and/or verbal) about what is to come. Shout outs can be anything from grunting, squatting, pointing, or speaking about an oncoming bowel movement.
Another sign is if he has words for urine or stool and he starts to "get" that there are physical signs pre-empting the act of having to use the potty and can hold it in before getting there. (Pull-Ups' Cool & Learn Pants have “cool” technology can help a little one feel the start of urination)
Celebrating an accomplishment by showing a display of uber-cute clapping or any other type of celebration for oneself after a job well done is another clue to look out for. (I really love that clap!)
When co-operation with you, not against you, is happily occurring, take this as a sign. Also be aware of when he can follow simple instructions like retrieving or sitting on the potty when directed, or fetching a Pull-Up Pant or wipes.
When your little one understands that things have their own spot and can comprehend that they need to be put where they belong, take this as another subtle potty training readiness cue.
Look out for all these signs but know that the biggest potty training hack is really this...we, as parents, have to start this journey together with our toddler! And if you are struggling with this rite of passage for your child, don't be afraid to ask for help! Pull-Ups Pants offers potty training 101 classes and on-call consultants through their website.