When should you potty-train your child? You are ready to put away the diapers forever, but is your child ready? Kids potty-train at widely different times. A generation or two ago it was typical for girls to potty-train at about 2 and boys at about 2 1/2. Today, many parents are waiting much longer to potty-train. Disposable diapers are another cause of late potty-training. When a child feels dry, they don't associate the sensation of wetting with the feeling of being wet. This can really slow down training.
A few potty-train at 18 months, but the majority of kids potty-train sometime between their second and third birthdays. Boys often train a little later than girls, so it is not unusual for a boy to learn to potty at three, while his sister learns at two. Don't worry, though, as with most physical milestones, when a child potty-trains is not related to intelligence.
The most important step in potty-training is waiting until your child is ready. While you may be anxious to nix the diapers, potty-training before your child has the ability to train could set both of you up for a long battle. Let your attachment parenting sensibility help you learn to sense when your child is ready. This is a great opportunity to deepen the bond with your child. Potty-training should not be a battle. The best potty-training experiences are when mom/dad and child work together on this new skill.
Readiness for potty-training includes:
* The ability to communicate the need to potty. Unless your child can let you know with words or signs that they need to go, potty-training will be very frustrating for you both.
* Able to get to the potty on time. A mobile child can learn to get to the potty fast enough to prevent accidents.
* Developed the sense of when they need to go to the potty. They might tell you when they are going to wet. Some kids will tell you when they are ready to have a bowel movement, others will go off to a preferred spot each time. This indicates the readiness to sense when they need to go.
* The physical ability to hold urine or a bowel movement until they reach the potty. This is the tough one for most kids. You might know your child is ready if their diapers are dry for an hour at a time or if they start waking up with a dry diaper.
Waiting for the right time to potty-train can be hard, but if your child is ready they will likely train very quickly. If they are not ready, not amount of training will work. Without the skills needed to potty, they simply won't be able to do it and both of you will be miserable. Potty-training too early can also set kids up for failure.
Potty-training too early can lead to frustration, a lot of tears (some from them too!) and a lot of wet pants. Once a child has the skills to train, they are naturally much happier to master this new challenge.