When to start potty-training?

If you start potty-training before your child is biologically and emotionally ready, you're both going to become frustrated and upset. It will also drag out the process because it's likely to turn into a battle of wills, a battle that parents never win. Most children become potty trained between 18 and 30 months.

Read the signs

If you look closely, your child will tell you through behaviours that he or she is probably ready to begin.

  • Does your child have bowel movements at a fairly predictable time? Does your child hint through words or behaviour at the awareness of having one?
  • Can your child pull down and pull up pants?
  • Does your child show an interest in the bathroom and what other people do in it?
  • Can your child walk over to and sit down on the potty without help?
  • Has your child started saying 'No!' to you? Does your child like to have at least some toys in certain special places? This shows that your child is interested in controlling things in the near environment.
  • Does your child know what 'wet' and 'dry' mean?
  • Does your child respond to praise and want to please you?

If your answer is 'yes' to most of these questions, your child may be ready to begin. Postpone potty-training if your child is stressed. If it doesn't seem to be working, take a break and try again in a few weeks or months. It will happen – just give it time.

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