potty training toddlerWhen to start potty training is one of those questions with no right or wrong answer. Experts generally tell parents, “When your child is ready”; an answer that raises more questions than it answers, particularly for first-time parents. But potty training is one of child rearing’s many gray areas where there can be no one-size-fits-all answer. As your child’s Horizon Education teacher will tell you, deciding when to start potty training your child is a matter not of age but of readiness.

Is Your Child  Ready to Start Potty Training?

Potty training requires both emotional readiness and the physical ability to control bladder and bowel muscles. Children reach these developmental stages at different times. Many children express readiness to start toilet training during the toddler years, between 22 and 30 months of age; although parents should consider this only a rough guide.

Watch for the following signs of readiness:

  • Shows interest in the potty chair or toilet or in wearing underwear
  • Indicates when he or she needs to go
  • Complains about wet or dirty diapers
  • Stays dry for 2 hours or more during the day
  • Has a dry diaper after napping

No Need to Rush Potty Training

The ability to follow simple directions and mastery of basic motor skills, such as sitting and standing up, climbing and removing clothing, is also necessary before your child will be able to toilet independently. Most children achieve physical readiness before emotional readiness, and girls frequently reach developmental readiness before boys.

Trying to force potty training before your child is ready will only leave you both frustrated. If your child isn’t interested in potty training or loses interest before training is complete, step back and wait awhile before you try again. Click here for more tips on potty training toddlers.