The first birthday marks a number of fun milestones: the first few words, perhaps the first few steps and a big mess with the birthday cake. But the second birthday marks a time many parents look forward to and some dread: potty training. While there may be pressure from friends and family about how important it is to get started on toilet training, keep in mind that the most important decision maker is the child.
The toddler who succeeds in training is the one who wants to be trained. Children forced into potty training when they are not ready may develop a significant negative and defiant attitude that will only delay success. Most children begin to imitate parents, as well as gain a sense of wanting to be independent, some time after the second birthday. It is important to note that the average age for toilet training completion in the United States (not counting nighttime dryness) is three. That is just an average, so this means that there are a number of children trained closer to two, as well as others who reach this milestone around age four. The trick is to identify readiness and then proceed in a relaxed manner.
Here are a few signs that can help you identify the right time for training:
- Does your child know when she is about to go? If she does, or even if she simply knows that she has just gone, this awareness will help her get started.
- Are her bowel movements predictable? If so, regularity can help parents identify times of day when training attempts are most likely to be successful.