For many reasons, parents want to believe they can control their child’s toilet training. Some parents feel pressure from friends and family to get started while others simply want a break from smelly laundry and the cost of disposable diapers. However, it is a good idea to think about your motives before starting down the road of toilet training.

If your child has shown no interest in cleanliness, tidiness, toilets, or what ends up in a toilet, he or she is probably not ready to start learning. On the other hand, if your child gives cues that the time is right, such as stopping an activity for a few seconds or holding his or her diaper, go ahead and start the process with quiet confidence. Use readiness rather than age as your green light, even if your child is the only one in your play group who shows no interest.

Cues that signal the readiness you may be looking for can include the child’s ability to:

  • follow simple instructions
  • understand words that relate to the toilet training process
  • control the muscles used during elimination
  • tell you that he or she needs to “go”
  • keep a diaper dry for at least two hours
  • pull down pants, get to the potty, sit on the seat, and get off the seat

Your child needs to show you that he or she has an interest in using the potty and wearing “big boy” or “big girl” pants. When he or she is ready to learn and try, the process will be much easier for everyone.

More to consider: Timing . . .

Choose a time to start toilet training when your child’s environment is stable and secure.