Toilet Training a Toddler

By Deirdre Wilson

How do you know when your child is ready to learn to use a toilet or potty?

Potty TrainingHere’s what child-development experts say.

A child is ready when he or she:

• Urinates or has bowel movements at more predictable times.

• Is aware of and can communicate – verbally or through facial expression – the need to urinate or have a bowel movement.

• Dislikes wet or soiled diapers.

• Has motor skills that include being able to walk to the bathroom, pull down pants, sit on the potty, relax and actually go in the potty.

• Can understand and follow simple directions.

• Has a social/emotional readiness that involves “wanting” to be toilet trained.

Children are motivated to imitate and please parents, and they have a driving need to be in control. The more these factors coincide, the more smoothly your child will accomplish the task,” writes Ann Stadtler, a nurse practitioner who works with children who have had serious difficulty and delays in toilet training.

Even with all these signs of readiness, Stadtler reminds parents to be patient. “It takes time for a child to connect the signal that her body is giving her with the idea of relaxing and releasing her urine and stool into the potty.”

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