Potty training, learning, and readiness

baby in diaper

Potty training can seem intimidating, but there are a lot of misconceptions out there about the process. There are steps for readiness, and there are steps for the actual learning process. I find a lot of the struggle with this milestone comes from the mindset that has been taught to us as parents, the mindset of “training” a toddler, rather than helping them learn to understand their bodies, and how they can have control over these functions. At the end of it all, yes they will be “trained”, regardless of what you call it. I personally found that the idea that I was training, put a lot of pressure on myself to get my littles using the toilet. Rather, when using the idea that I’m helping them learn the toilet and their bodies, they actually lead the way through most of the journey! This is why signs of readiness are so important. When a child or even an adult is about to tackle a new skill, the first step is always to be primed to learn in the first place. Making sure they’re ready will eliminate a lot of the work.

Developmental readiness for potty training

When looking at body development, there are some important things necessary for potty training.

  1. Holding urine and bowels; There are certain muscle groups, especially the sphincter, that develop in the bladder and bowels around the age 18 months. Even once this muscle is developed, your child will need time to learn to use and strengthen these muscles. without this step, you will be faced with potty accidents. This truly can lengthen the potty training journey unnecessarily, and even impact your child’s confidence in this milestone
  2. Understanding direction; If your child is still early in learning to follow your speech and then interpret directions, this will also impact potty training. As much as they are learning to understand their body’s needs to eliminate waste, they will need to understand when you are directing them in the steps of toilet use and hygiene.
  3. Speech and responding; on the reverse of the previous point, they need to be able to communicate back to you what they are feeling and needing. This can be in whatever form your child is communicating with you; such as speech, body language, or cues of theirs that you understand – as long as you can understand them. This is needed so you can see if the potty training steps are actually being learned.

Dues of readiness for potty training

There are some signs that a toddler is ready for potty training, these are your first go-to when starting the process. If your child…

  1. Shows interest in the toilet or in going to the bathroom.
  2. Is pointing, asking questions, or wanting to watch others use the toilet
  3. Shows a willingness to try using the toilet or potty chair
  4. Trying to sit on the toilet themselves or asking to be put on it.
  5. starts staying dry for longer periods of time, at least about 2hrs at a time; showing signs of bladder control
  6. Starts having regular bowel movements; showing signs of bowel control
  7. Showing an increasing level of discomfort with wet diapers.
  8. Can follow simple instructions and communicate some needs.

These are some strong signs that your little one may be ready to start potty training.

Once you are feeling confident in this step of readiness, then you can be on your way to the actual learning.

Stay tuned for more about potty training for toddlers.

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