Potty training: 7 ways to know if your child is really ready

Your child has made the metamorphosis from a babe in arms to a rowdy, roaring toddler. But that age-old symbol of babyhood still remains -- their diaper. Your in-laws and some of your neighbors are beginning to question why such a "mature" child is still running around wearing a diaper. That dreaded time has arrived -- or has it? Potty training is about to begin.

Is Your Child Ready?

How do you know your child is really ready to begin the potty training process? Most experts say, "DON’T RUSH!" Many children aren’t ready until they are three, and some children don’t get the hang of it until they are four or older. Even though you might be getting negative comments already from friends and family, you need to ask, "Is YOUR child ready?"

7 Ways to Know If Your Child is Really Ready

1. How old is your child? Most experts agree, children under two years of age are seldom physically or emotionally ready to learn how to use the potty.

2. Does your child show interest? If your child wants to flush the toilet after you have used it, imitates your actions, and pays attention when you are using the bathroom, he or she is giving you signals that they too want to know more about this strange practice.

3. Is your child becoming uncomfortable in his or her dirty diaper? Children that ask to have their diaper changed, or attempt to change it themselves, are uncomfortable in their dirty diaper. If this is becoming a common occurrence, it could be your cue to let them know there may be a better alternative.

4. Is your child dry in the morning? Being dry all night and into the morning is a sign that your child’s need for frequent changes may be ending. A child that goes for long periods through the day without soiling their diaper is also showing those early signs of control.

5. Does your child know when she needs to go to the bathroom? Some children will start to tell YOU when they have to go to the bathroom. "Mommy I have to pee" is a good indicator of your child’s awareness. Some children may not be verbal in their communication. If little Billy starts to head behind the sofa or onto a closet, then emerges to announce he needs a diaper change, he has received a signal from his body that he recognizes as the need to go potty.

6. Is your child beginning to show regularity? Regularity can be a big plus. This is a sign that he or she is establishing a rhythm. If your child needs to go upon arising for the day, midmorning, around lunchtime and then again around the same time each afternoon, he or she has begun to establish their own schedule. When all parties involved can predict a need for the potty, it is much easier to avoid mishaps.

7. Are there other stressful events occurring at this time? A child who is already dealing with one very stressful struggle may not be able to handle the added pressure of learning how and when to use the potty at the same time. Common events that can sabotage potty training can include weaning, removal of a pacifier, a family move, divorce, beginning or returning to daycare and arrival of a brand new sibling. Of course there are a thousand and one things that could be added to this list, but each parent will be the best person to judge the current situation within their own family.

Read other mom's questions, as they have embarked upon this great adventure:

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