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10 Signs Your Toddler is Ready for Potty Training

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You’ve been changing diapers for a while now—wouldn’t it be nice to finally have this chapter behind you? Figuring out the right time to stop using diapers can be hard, so we’ve gathered 10 signals that let you know your toddler is probably ready to start using the potty.

1. Taking off Dirty Diapers Himself

a baby running outside in just his diaper

A sure sign that your toddler is becoming aware of what’s going on is taking off dirty diapers himself. If it’s a poopie diaper, let him watch you put the poop in the potty to see where it goes. Praise him for understanding that dirty diapers are uncomfortable, and let him know using the potty is a great way to avoid that icky feeling.

2. Telling You Her Diaper is Dirty

a baby wearing a diaper bending over

Before she starts letting you know she has to go, she’ll begin letting you know she’s already gone. Once she’s aware that she’s gone to the bathroom ask her how she felt right before she went. Recognizing how it feels when she needs to go is an important step..

3. Showing Interest in Seeing Her Own Waste

a little girl looking at the camera

Gross, right? But being interested in what’s coming out shows a level of awareness of the process as a whole. Let her have a peek and let her know the potty is a great place to put waste. Try not to tell her it’s stinky or dirty—encourage her to feel positive about everything surrounding this new adventure.

4. Showing Interest in Your Potty Behavior

a toddler and their mom on the phone

Modeling after mom and dad comes naturally. Playing dress up or pretending to talk on the phone just like the adults can be fun—use that to your advantage. Don’t discourage him from asking questions about what’s going on in the bathroom. Answer everything in a matter of fact way so he knows that the potty is a normal part of daily life.

5. Being Dry After Sleeping

a toddler sleeping

A great sign that your toddler has developed bladder control is when they start waking up dry. Being dry after a nap will happen a lot earlier than being dry overnight, so look for that first. Encouraging your toddler to sit on the potty right after napping can reinforce bladder control.

6. Understanding Multi-Step Commands

a young toddler playing with some toys

There’s a lot to do surrounding the potty. You have to get undressed, sit down, wipe, get dressed, wash your hands—that’s a lot to remember and do. When you start to notice that your toddler does all of the steps when you say, “Please pick up that toy, put it in the box, and close the lid,” that’s a good sign that she’s intellectually prepared to take on the entire process of potty training.

7. Undressing Himself

a young boy not wearing a shirt

It’s kind of obvious; if you can’t undress yourself, you’re going to wet your pants. It’s a skill that takes some forethought and coordination, but once your toddler has mastered it there’s a chance your house will become a bit of a nudist colony. It’s another step toward living diaper-free, so take a chance on naked time—just set a timer so you get your toddler on the potty at regular intervals

8. Understanding Potty-Related Words

a toddler sitting on a potty with a laptop

If your toddler doesn’t have the right vocabulary words it’s going to be difficult to discuss potty training with him. Figure out which words work best for your family. Cutesy words like, “pee-pee” and “poo-poo” work fine. If you’re feeling more academic, go with “urination” and “defecation.”

9. Pooping with Purpose

a toddler sitting on a potty

Children tend to quickly pick up how to pee on the potty, but going number two is an entirely different thing. Many children need time to figure out the mechanics of how to poop with purpose. Watch for signs like your diapered toddler going to a secluded area of the house, squatting, and/or grunting. This mean your toddler is becoming aware of the muscles needed to get the job done when sitting on the throne.

10. Seeking Independence

a young boy holding two thumbs up

Have you gotten to the, “Me, Me, Me” stage yet? Is your toddler’s response to every attempt at help a resounding, “No! I do it!”? Independence, and the desire to be a big kid, is a key factor in your child’s desire to be out of diapers. Use it to your advantage and you’ll be rid of diapers in no time.

 
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