How to know it’s time to go…on the 'big potty'

It's tough enough to potty train your child as it is, but It's even harder to find out when it's time to move on to the 'big potty.' Read more to find out if your child is ready for the next big step.

potty training

Find out when your child will be ready to use the ‘big potty’

Potty training (or toilet training, as some call it) is one of those things parents really want to do, but are completely unsure as to when it needs to be done. They don’t relish changing diapers filled with big boy/girl ‘poo,’ but all that talk about psychological scarring if you push too hard (no pun intended) makes parents a bit leery.

Early bird catches the worm

There are parents who insist that trying to break free of diaper duty before a child reaches the age of 3 is senseless and unreasonable. They insist that a child doesn’t have the capability to control their bladder and bowels up to that point, and that in trying to make them ‘go,’ you are damaging their self-esteem and self-image.

In my opinion, a 3 year old is completely capable of naming body parts, so I’m pretty sure they are capable of knowing how to use them. In fact, I know they are! Take it from this mum who has raised and potty-trained four children (all by the age of two and a half) and 2 granddaughters (both by the time they turned 2), it is a process that can take place naturally and without tears and tantrums. How is it that the 3 year old that ‘can’t’ be potty trained is often the same proclaimed genius, who can count to 100, recognize all their letters and even read?

How do I know my child is ready for potty training?

Children are curious. They want to learn and they love to mimic you, but most of all, they want to please you. This fact and the following list of ‘readiness signs’ are all strong indicators that potty training should be at the top of your ‘to do’ list. NOTE: These are not in any specific order of importance.

  • Is able to sit for up to 5 minutes engaged in an activity.
  • Can go two hours or more without wetting a diaper.
  • Bowel movements are firm and fairly predictable.
  • Shows interest in you going to the bathroom.
  • Can pull their pants up and down.
  • Stops what they are doing to pee or ‘poo’ in their diaper.
  • Uses words to tell you what they have done (“I pooped.”)
  • Expresses discomfort over being wet or dirty.
  • Understands and obeys simple commands, such as “let’s go take a bath” or “pick up the toy.”
  • Responds to positive reinforcement.

It’s all about attitude

Approaching potty training as a step in parenting, instead of preparing for war is half the battle (again, no pun intended). If you treat it matter-of-factly then your child will too. By having the attitude that potty training is a great way to be a big kid, and is just one of those things that happens when it is time to not be a baby anymore, you’ll find that your toddlers are highly receptive and even excited about stepping up to the challenge.

No, it won’t happen overnight, and yes, there will be accidents. You’ll have extended periods of time where all will be well, and then a few days when you may think there is no light at the end of this tunnel. But by being persistent, patient, calm and encouraging, it will happen. Trust me.

Share your tips on how you got your child to move on up to the ‘big potty.’