Is my child ready to start using the toilet?

This has become such a hot topic in our culture. Many parents are worried that if they start too early they can damage their child’s self-esteem. Other parents fear the social judgement that comes with starting too late.

In my experience, the ideas of ‘readiness’ and ‘signs of readiness’ are bogus and only confuse the process for families. Let me offer these five points instead:

1.Children before the age of two accept the culture around them. This can be an ideal time to start potty training as children often just accept the new routine as part of their culture.
2. Most children do not just wake up one day and decide they want to change their routine. Although this may happen for a few. Children like routine and when parents make the decision to make potty training part of the routine, it becomes part of the routine.
3. If it is the expectation in the home that the children use the toilet (or potty chair), then the children will learn to do it.
4. A home that is prepared for potty training is conducive for potty training (potty chair, accessible underwear, hamper – all visible to the child and used only for the purpose of potty training, not as toys or props)
5. Parents must approach potty training with confidence (yes we can do this), patience (it may take lots of practice), and acceptance (we will do our best to move forward and we will not shame, scold, or praise – we will simply accept)

If parents are ready to begin potty training, then the child is ready. This is a decision the parent must make. There is no need to consult with your child. I would recommend informing your child once the decision is made. Try, “Good morning. Today is the day you begin to use the toilet.”

For more step by step instructions on potty training, click here.

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