An article from the American Academy of Pediatric's website for parents states
“As a general rule of thumb, children are developmentally ready to use the potty around the age of 3. However, remember that children develop at different rates and that not all children are ready at the age of 3.” (source)
The classic signs of potty readiness from the AAP include (see table 3 of this article):
- Asks to use potty-chair or wear “big kid” underwear
- Can put on/take off clothes
- Demonstrates independence and uses the word “no”
- Follows parent into bathroom and expresses interest in the toilet
- Has regular and predictable bowel movements
- Imitates parental behavior
- Is able to follow simple instructions, sit, and walk
- Reports soiled diapers and wants a clean diaper
- Stays dry for two hours at a time or is dry following naps
- Uses words, facial expressions, or movements indicating the need to urinate or defecate
So I decided I'd create my own list of indications that your child is ready to use a potty.
- Your child pees and poops.
- Sometimes when you open your baby's diaper, he or she immediately starts peeing (especially fun with a baby boy!).
- Your child sometimes pees or poops in the bath.
- Your child can sit with or without assistance.
- Your child loves your attention.
- Your child enjoys being read to, finger plays, and listening to you sing songs.
- Your child resists being laid down for a diaper change.
- Your child really dislikes having a poopy diaper changed.
- Your child gets frequent diaper rashes.
- Sometimes you go to change your child's diaper and notice it's dry.
- Your child enjoys diaper-free/ naked time.
- Your child is enthralled with older siblings.
The truth is, your child can start to use a potty at birth if you are so inclined. So the signs above are not signs you need to wait for, just indications that now might be a great time to try putting your child on the potty. When you are willing to consider the possibility of early potty training, certain otherwise annoying occurrences (an infant boy that pees everywhere in the middle of a diaper change, a baby that poops all the time in the bath, a toddler that is so attached to you that you either have to take her to the bathroom with you or listen to her scream the entire time you are in the bathroom) can be re-framed as opportunities for early potty experiences.
I personally like to start potty training (or elimination communication, whatever you like to call it) when my child can sit reasonably comfortably on a little potty with assistance (around 4 to 6 months). That's what works for me.
When do you like to begin potty training?