by Alanna Hieatt, Haven Member, Mother of 2
I know, I know, the way I groan when I think of potty training, and I think many parents can relate. It’s one of those parenting hurdles we dread jumping but are so thankful to leave behind the diapers. Unfortunately, we can’t get to the other side without the jump, and we don’t need to add as much pressure around potty training as we do!
First and foremost, there is no one age that every child should be potty trained. We must remember that this is a lifelong skill, and we can’t expect our children to all learn on the exact timetable. I know there can be a lot of pressure around the age of 2 to potty train, especially if your childcare provider requires it. If your child is ready, then go for it! If you have some concerns about readiness, it may be beneficial for everyone to wait! We know how quickly our children can change and learn, so it may not be long before they are ready for the big potty!
There are some fundamental skills your child needs before they are ready for the potty. These skills are suggested readiness by the MayoClinic.
- Can your child walk and sit on the toilet?
- Can they pull their pants down and back up with minimal assistance?
- Can they stay dry for more than 2 hours?
- Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
- Can they communicate when they need to go?
- Are they interested in using the toilet or wearing “big kid” underwear?
If they have most of these skills, they may be ready for potty training! Some other signs to consider are if they excuse themselves and find a private spot to do their business when wearing a diaper. They may start to recognize and signal that they are wet or dirty. Or they begin to recognize when they are peeing or pooping and tell you when they are doing so.
When you decide your child is ready for potty training, again, this can be whatever age you think is appropriate and will vary by the child; you should start by deciding what language you will use with your child about the potty. Staying consistent in the language used about their bodily fluids and the location they should go to the bathroom will help them better understand the concepts.
Next, you can schedule bathroom breaks. You can help them sit on the toilet. Expose them to the experience of being in a bathroom, like sitting on the toilet with clothes first and then without, what is the toilet paper for, what the flush sounds like, washing their hands in the sink, etc. Make the experience fun with books about the potty and offer praise when finished in the bathroom, even if they didn’t use it.
The following steps in potty training vary and may work differently for each family. Some people believe in ditching the diapers right away, other families utilize a pull-up, and others may continue to use diapers and encourage their children to communicate their needs by asking them frequently. There is no one-size-fits-all potty training schedule or ritual.
At Haven, there is no age requirement for potty training because we value and recognize that each child is on their path. This lifelong skill will come with time and patience. When your child and your family are ready, the staff at Haven will support your child in their potty training journey.