General Signs of Readiness

From the time your child is about 2 (though it may be nearer to 3 for some), you should watch for signs of readiness for training. If certain signs are clearly present, and the child is basically past the negative "no-to-every-request" stage, he or she is probably ready.

You'll know your child is ready when he or she:

• Is aware of the "need to go," and shows it by facial expression or by telling you.

• Can express and understand one-word statements, including such words as "wet," "dry," "potty," and "go."

• Demonstrates imitative behavior.

• Dislikes wet or dirty diapers. (Don't confuse this with your level of discomfort or inconvenience.)

• Is able to stay dry for at least two hours or wakes up dry after a nap.

• Is able to pull elastic waist pants up and down.

• Is anxious to please you.

• Has a sense of social "appropriateness" (wet pants can be an embarrassment).

• Tells you he or she is about to go. (Praise such statements to set the stage for a child who wishes to please you by learning to use the toilet or potty.)

• Asks to use the potty chair or adult toilet!

Excerpted from Toilet Training: A Practical Guide to Daytime and Nighttime Training

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