Determining the best time to begin toilet training is not always easy—not only because readiness occurs at different ages for different children, but because your child may be ready in one area of development but not in another. A one-year-old who happily sits on her potty to look at picture books still may not be able to comprehend the potty’s real purpose, while a two-year-old who knows what potties are for may refuse to use his out of a toddler’s natural desire to remain in almost constant motion.
In general, most children become physiologically ready for toilet training at around eighteen months of age—that is, their digestive system and bladder have matured to the point where they can delay a bowel movement or urination long enough to get to a potty. But they are usually not cognitively ready—able to associate the need to eliminate with potty use, to remember to use it, and to resist distraction long enough to complete the process—until sometime after their second birthday. The motor skills needed to get to the bathroom, manage clothes, and sit still on the potty are also clearly important.
So is the emotional urge toward independence and self-mastery—as well as sufficient emotional maturity to relax control sufficiently to avoid constipation. Social readiness—an awareness of others’ toilet use and a desire to imitate their behavior—is a powerful motivating force for toddlers and preschoolers. Another factor is the verbal ability to understand your explanations of how toilet use works and to communicate to you any confusion or uneasiness they feel.
As you can see, a range of physical and psychological developments help support the process of toilet training. While it isn’t necessary to wait until you’re sure that every one of these developments is in place, each step does increase the chances of toilet-training success. If you are struggling with potty training or knowing when to begin potty training, the providers at Kids First Pediatrics can help. Schedule an appointment today. Raleigh: 919-250-3478 or Clayton: 919-267-1499.
*This article is informational but is not a substitute for medical attention or information from your provider.