You've heard that a critical factor in potty training success is waiting until your child is ready . . . but what exactly does "ready" mean? Keep reading for five signs that typically indicate potty training readiness.
1. Staying Dry Longer
Is your child waking up dry from her afternoon nap? Staying dry for longer periods of time (two hours or more, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics) indicates increased bladder control, an important prerequisite for potty training. As Sharie T. shares, "I think the easiest way to tell if your son is really ready to potty train is if he is waking up from naps dry, and waking up in the morning without his diaper being saturated."
2. Awareness Before Going
Another key physical sign of potty training readiness is the child showing awareness that she's about to urinate or defecate — whether that's by making faces, grunting, taking off her diaper, or bluntly telling you she needs to pee. Micele W. advises, "Your child will give you clues when ready, they will let you know they have to pee pee or they will start taking their diaper off." And C.P. shares, "Watch for different faces that they make. If it looks like your child is halting their activities and making a funny face, it's possible that they may have to go to the bathroom."
3. Disliking Soiled Diapers
In addition to demonstrating the physical capabilities needed for potty training, another sign of potty training readiness is a desire not to be in soiled diapers. Kristy B. advises paying attention to whether your child "shows a preference for being clean and dry, fussing when she/he is wet, pulling off a dirty nappy, or asking to be changed." As Vicky shares: "I knew my oldest was ready when he started to hand me the diapers on his own and telling me he had 'stinky.'"
4. Showing Interest in the Toilet
Is your child curious about the bathroom habits of his parents, friends, or siblings? Does she want to imitate you or practice using the potty? Demonstrating interest in the toilet and bathroom habits is one of the most important signs of potty training readiness. As Andrea B. shares, "I know from experience it usually works better when they start asking questions and seem more interested in it."
5. Wanting to Wear "Big-Kid" Underwear
Showing or stating interest in big-kid underwear is another key sign a child is ready to potty train. "Just shortly after his second birthday he got into his dresser and brought me a pair of underwear," recalls Holly M. "He has been potty trained from that day on!" Of course, as Becca S. recommends, it's a good idea to expose your child to the idea of big-kid underwear: "Take your child shopping and let them pick out what big-kid underwear they want, then put it in their dresser and remind them of it often: 'When you do your pee and poo in the toilet you'll get to wear your big-kid underwear!'"