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Is My Toddler Ready for Potty Training?

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Question: Is My Toddler Ready for Potty Training?
Answer: Like learning to sit up, crawl and walk, potty training is a skill that your child must learn. Before mastering this skill, there are certain other skills and abilities that must be in place before learning can begin.

Signs your child may be ready:

  • Your child is staying dry for longer periods of time (often two hours or more). This indicates that her bladder capacity is increasing.
  • Your child recognizes when she is in the process of urinating or voiding. If you try to potty train before this time, you'll likely run into trouble, since your child isn't really aware of what she's doing and so is unable to control something she can't understand.
  • Your child is able to easily pull her pants up and down. She may not have had any reason to do so in the past, but luckily, of all the readiness factors, this skill is easily learned.
  • Your child can follow simple instructions. There are many steps to using the toilet that we take for granted as adults. For example-- go to the bathroom, turn on the light, pull down your pants and underwear, sit on the potty, wipe your bottom, flush the toilet, wash your hands-- the list goes on, so this is a very important skill.
  • Your child is able to sit and engage in an activity for several minutes without becoming distracted or irritable.
  • Your child is walking and running well. Because the urge to potty is often sudden in toddlers, and because a potty isn't always steps away, it's important for your child to be able to make it to the toilet before an accident occurs.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, your child shows interest and desire. Interest in keeping dry or clean. Interest in wearing "big kid" underwear. Interest in what you're doing when you go potty and a desire to do what you're doing.

Remember, age is not the most important factor. Potty training will be best accomplished when your child's physical and emotional development are taken into account as well.

Do you have a question you'd like to see answered? You can send your questions to me at babyparenting@aboutguide.com and I will answer them here on the site.

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