Potty training can be an incredibly nerve-racking experience; not just for the child. Often, the child is ready to be potty trained but the parent is not. This is where confidence is key. Picking up on your toddler's signs that he/she/they are ready to potty train is imperative. They could even be showing signs before the age of one! Yes, one!
To make it easier for you to decide when to begin the potty training process, we have listed 10 ways to know that your toddler is ready for the big-leagues. It won't be easy (unless you're incredibly lucky) and it will likely take time, so be patient and aware. You've got this!
10 DRY DIAPER
If your baby or toddler wakes up from a nap or gets up in the morning with a dry diaper, this may be a key sign that it's time for potty training! This indication is so important: it shows the parent and/or guardian that they are holding in their urination and/or bowels until they're awake. This is a great chance for you to introduce the potty and/or toilet. Keep an eye for this pattern, it could begin earlier than expected. The child will tell you when they're ready, so prepare for it to start at any given time!
9 GRABBING PRIVATES
Grabbing their genitals is, frankly, a part of self-discovery. Children may begin to explore their bodies incredibly early; perhaps well before the age of one. When we mention this sign, we are talking about the moments right before they urinate specifically. If you notice a pattern, try and bring them to the washroom the moment you notice their hand(s) going south. This may indicate that they have to go pee.
8 POINTING TOWARDS WASHROOM
This is a direct sign of noticing where it's appropriate to use the washroom. They will notice when you, the parent or caretaker, goes to use the washroom. Children are smarter than they appear. Often, they may even follow you to the washroom for curiosity and comfort reasons. Before the age where they're vocal, hand signalling can be a useful and indicative form of communication. By physically pointing toward the washroom, they may be directly communicating the fact that they need to use the washroom. If so, bring them inside and sit them on the potty. See if anything happens. You may be surprised.
7 COMFORTABLE SITTING ON POTTY/TOILET
It's important to introduce the potty and/or toilet at a very young age. Even if this means sitting your 8-month-old on the potty while they stack blocks or "read" their favorite book. By having the child sit comfortably on the potty every time you use the washroom, it will allow them to realize the connection. If your child is comfortable sitting on the potty, don't be surprised if they actually use it. This is the main step to introducing potty training. It's also a great sign that they may be ready for a diaper-free lifestyle, too!
6 THEY FOLLOW YOU TO THE WASHROOM
This is a very common thing that young children and toddlers may do. The moment you need to use the washroom, they follow you. If they're not already sitting on the potty as you do, try to signal the opportunity of them joining you. The more they follow you into the washroom, the more likely they're ready to use the potty. Even if it's before the age of one, having them connect the dots between potty time and washroom will encourage them to "listen to their body" and perhaps potty train sooner than expected.
5 THEY WAIT TO PEE/POO WHEN NAKED
Small children may go through a phase of wanting to be naked, perhaps more often than not. This is ok, of course, as long as they're surrounded by safe people in an appropriate setting: like at home with their close family. If the baby or toddler seems to pee or poo while they're naked, this could show their comfort level with the removal of their diaper. If you are catching on to this habit, grab the opportunity by the horns - it may be time to potty train!
4 SCHEDULED PEES/POOS
If you notice your child filling their diaper almost at the same time each day, not only is this a natural, bodily function, but a common sign that they know when they're going to go number one or number two. If you happen to have the opportunity to bring them on the potty or toilet at their usual time of bowel movement, we recommend you do so. Consistency is key. So, if you notice this pattern, keep at it. Place the baby and/or child on the potty as frequently as needed. They may surprise you!
3 THEY HAVE A "PEE DANCE"
This is a classic sign that they are about to use the washroom. Often, there's "a face" they make when they're going poo. Of course if it's an appropriate time at an appropriate place, rush the baby to the potty and position them to finish their business. The Pee Dance is a classic sign that they are noticing and responding to the sensation and are ready to start their potty training journey.
2 THEY WILL USE THE POTTY IF THEY SIT ON IT
Children will amaze you. There will be moments where your baby may be showing signs of potty training readiness, but the parent may be doubting their ability. Frankly, it's never too young to introduce the idea to them. As said before: having your baby sit on the potty to gain comfort and understand the idea of its use is a great way to start the journey. If your baby and/or child uses it while on it, then that's great! Even if it takes 20 minutes for them to use it, celebrate each moment. It's a great success for both you and child!
1 THEY REMOVE THEIR DIAPER
Babies tend to remove their diapers out of pure boredom and ability. But, if you notice the child doing this more than ever, it may be time to introduce the potty and/or toilet. Notice the pattern; as we suggest through all of these points; however, this may be a key sign that they're ready to let go of their diaper phase. Go with it- it's never too early.