Potty training.. .wait for signs of readiness or push on anyways?

Liane - posted on 02/13/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )

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I see all kinds of posts about "at what age should I start training my child?" and "what rewards/bribes to use to encourage potty training?". Should potty training take, weeks, months, etc. of rewards or should it only take a matter of days when the child clearly shows signs or being ready?

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Jodi - posted on 02/15/2010

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I actually waited with both of mine until I knew they were totally ready. They were both around three, and they were fully trained (even at nightime) within a month or 2, and it was quite painless. I honestly don't see the point in pushing them before they are ready - everyone only gets frustrated. I don't believe there is any harm at all waiting until they are ready.

Lady - posted on 02/15/2010

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I don't feel a lot of kids are even ready to start until they are almost three, but if you wait it doesn't usually take all that long. My first two were quicker but my third was almost three when she was potty trained but I wouldn't have a problem if she was a little older. My children never start nursery until they are older than three so there has never been a rush to get them into pants and there for no additional stress put into the situation - which I feel is alway counter productive. The less stress involved the quicker they'll get the hang of it.

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Liane - posted on 02/17/2010

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I received the best advice from my pediatrician when my first daughter was born... he was a father of five kids himself so I very much valued his opinion not only as a medical professional but a father as well. He told me never to push the potty training. When a child is ready it should take only a matter of days (maybe a weekend). I really didn't believe him at the time my DD was an infant but I did wait like he advised. And, he was right! No bribes, just lots of praise and encouragement. I did the same for my second daughter and will do so for my new son as well. I was just curious as to how many people thought it better to be frustrated for months on end or just wait until their child was really ready! Thanks for all the responses :)

[deleted account]

I have a friend who's 3rd son is just a few months older than my girls. When they were all babies she used to say.... 'I'm just going to wait til he's 4 or 5 and say there's the toilet do your poop and pee in there from now on.' Or something like that anyway. Can't quote her exactly since it's been 8 years. :)

Jodi - posted on 02/16/2010

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changing diapers is SO much easier than the training process. Maybe that's cuz I had to do 2 at once though


Nope, its just much easier to change diapers, LOL :) That's why I waited until my kids took the lead too......Once they did, it was quick and painless. I think I could count on one hand how many messes I had to clean up once they took it upon themselves to be diaper free.

[deleted account]

My son is 'ready' now by all the cues, but I'm taking his lead. The first time he pooped in the potty (part of it anyway) he was 15 months old. He has done it a few times since. I do encourage him, but potty training can be a royal pain. The end result is nice, but from my personal experience... changing diapers is SO much easier than the training process. Maybe that's cuz I had to do 2 at once though. ;)

Jane - posted on 02/16/2010

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My daughter was trained within days of her 2nd birthday and my son was 2-1/2. I bought them their potty chair by 18 months but I waited until THEY showed interest versus me putting them on it. By the time they both showed readiness, they wore training underpants (not pullups but real cloth training pants) for a couple of days until they got the idea that diapers were no longer an option and if they pee'd or pooped in their pants, it was uncomfortable. Literally 2 days and they were completely trained but THEY were trained....I wasn't trained to catch them when they looked like they were ready to go and then put them on the potty chair.

[deleted account]

SIGNS OF READINESS
Here is a list of behaviours that may
indicate your child is ready to start toilet
training
• Your child can stay dry for longer
periods as evidenced by occasional dry
nappies.
• Your child has enthusiasm for wearing
pants and using a potty or toilet.
• Child indicates they has just done a
‘wee’ or a ‘poo’ - or that she has the
wants to go to the toilet.
• Child wants to use potty but is not
always successful. They have not got
the timing right yet.
• Child has occasional dry nappies at
change time.


READINESS SIGNS - QUIZ
Answer True or False
• My child is dry for at least two hours at
a time, or is dry after the afternoon
sleep.
• My child’s bowel movements are
regular and predictable.
• My child comes with wet or dirty
nappies and asks for them to be
changed.
• My child asks to use the toilet or the
potty.
• My child asks to use grown-up
underwear or at least requests to be
without nappies.
• My child can access the toilet and
remove their pants.
• My child is able to communicate needs
and follow simple instructions.
• My child is curious about the bathroom
habits of others (friends, parents) and
tries to imitate them.
If your answer is “True” for most of these
statements, then you know your child is
ready for toilet training.

[deleted account]

My daughter is 2 1/2 and is fully potty trained except she wears a pull up at night just in case but even most nights she stays dry...we used a sticker reward and chart system...every time she filled up a chart (80 squares) she would get a small toy or new Elmo DVD (I'm talking less than 10.00) I started 2 weeks before she turned two and only worked with her on the weekends so she didn't get overwhelmed or bored with it then by 28 months she was wearing panties everyday and a pull up at night and has been going strong like that for about 2 months shes only had if I could guess about 5 or 6 accidents during the day when she wears the panties...I just say work at it when you want to but don't get discouraged or mad if they don't pick it up...because then they will want to do it less

Amy - posted on 02/15/2010

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My son is starting to show signs of being ready to potty train, but he's just not ready yet. We are waiting for him to be ready because otherwise it will be harder and take longer (from what everyone told us). BUT that doesn't mean we aren't starting to get him used to the idea. When I can tell he's going to the bathroom I talk to him about it, I'll ask if he needs to go to the bathroom, and explain it. He's 21 months, and not talking yet, I think when he starts talking more that he'll be ready, he needs to be able to tell us he needs to go for it to really work.

I think it's great kids get potty trained early, but only if the child wants it and is ready. I'm really hoping our son will be ready by the time he's 3 at least!

C. - posted on 02/15/2010

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I say to wait until they show signs. Children generally start showing signs around 15-24m, but parents need to WATCH for the signs. Some parents just ignore them. I have heard way too many people on CoM that are pushing their kids to potty train- Some kids were as young as 9 months!!!! Sorry, but they are still BABIES and babies wear diapers and it is highly unlikely that a baby THAT YOUNG, knows what it means to go potty! Why push them at such a young age?

On the other hand, I think kids should definitely be fully potty trained by 3 years. By that time they have passed the beginning toddler stages (which usually start around 2 years- so that leaves one full year to train) and that is plenty of time to toilet train a kid, no matter how difficult they are.

[deleted account]

Where I live children start going to nursery school at the age of 3 and by then they have to be fully toilet trained. I think it's best to wait until they show an interest but there's no harm in a little gentle persausion like putting the potty out and letting them just sit on it or using positive reinforcement such as a reward chart.

Sara - posted on 02/14/2010

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I think you need to wait until the child shows signs that they are ready. My mom just told me that with my oldest sister, she was really hyper about the potty training, and ultimately she taught my sister to empty her bladder too early and she had accidents for years. With the rest of us (3), she waited until we showed interest in going on the potty, and she said every single one of us was totally potty trained by 2 years 4 months. So, I think that if you pressure your kid before they're ready they may end up either taking longer because it's a negative thing for them, or learning bad habits that will inhibit them from being totally potty trained, IMO. Once a kid is ready, it only takes a couple of weeks...and I don't think that using positive reinforcement (stickers, etc) is a bad thing.

[deleted account]

Where i live a child starts school at three so they have to be trained by about two and a half. Ive got all boys and only really had trouble with my oldest because i didnt have a clue what i was doing with my second and third it was a lot easier. I used to give them a chocolate button or a piece of fudge every time they did a pee or a poo. My youngest was potty trained by the time he was 18 months because he wore cloth nappies he was ready to start earlier and started taking his own nappies off.

Rosie - posted on 02/14/2010

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i tried to potty train my first 2 when they were about 2 1/2 and they were not interested in it at all. no matter what they would not do it, no bribe would be good enough. after they both turned 3 they started showing more interest and it took each of them about 3-4 days with no bribing but plenty of praise and sometimes they would get rewards they didn't know were coming. if someone wants to use bribes and it works for them, when the child is ready, i don't see the harm, but for me personally i chose to reward without them knowing they were going to receive anything. i definitely feel like waiting till they are ready is the best way to go about it.

Lady - posted on 02/14/2010

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I tried to potty train my first child before my second child was born and it was a complete waste of time - he wasn't ready and was not interested at all so gave up and waited until he was, then it took no time at all. This is the tactic I have used with my second and third children and inted to use with my fourth. Because of waiting I've never found the need to use any rewards/bribes apart from plenty of praise and a great show of excitment everytime they did as they were supposed to. I think you can try and encorage them to be ready by introducing the potty and having it around the place so they know what's going to be expected of them but ultimatley it's got to be when they want to do it.

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