Today I'm taking it back to the beginning with, what is the best age to even start potty training?!?! I typically say that you have to think more about the ideal TIME as opposed to the ideal AGE. Unfortunately, there is no magic number because every child and family situation is so different.
But, when I have to put an age on it, I say between 22 and 28 months. You have to think about a lot of different factors:
- Your child's developmental/biological/emotional readiness
- Any upcoming events that could cause your child emotional stress (moving, starting school, divorce, a new sibling, etc.)
- Your own readiness (are you sure you are willing to fully commit to no more diapers?).
Speaking of readiness, I need to clear the air on a piece of advice that I hear all too often - "Just wait until they're ready and it will be a breeze." This does happen and congrats to those parents! However, it is also VERY misleading. Not every child will show the typical signs of readiness.
Children between 22-28 months of age typically:
- Are at elimination muscle maturity
- Have reached a reasonable level of communication skills
- Have a good grasp on their gross motor skills
- Are more easily influenced by their adult role models
- Are more intrinsically (internally) motivated and less likely to need rewards
- Are less set in a routine
- Are able to adapt to change more easily
- Have yet to develop full autonomy
Similar to sleep, a child won't come up to you and tell you they are ready to sleep through the night. The same applies to potty training! Some kiddos WILL show obvious interest, but MOST will need a little guidance and leadership from their parents.
The American Academy Of Pediatrics suggests that children will be equipped to be potty trained between the ages of 22-24 months of age.
According to a scholarly article by Mia E. Lang, Paediatr Child Health, 2008, "...potty training is a very complex skill integrating physiological and behavioral processes." So, depending on a child's development, potty training is going to happen at different ages for different kiddos and that is OKAY!
Choose a time when life is calm and YOU feel ready to commit to potty training. Then, provide your child with a positive environment that matches their unique potty learning style. Even if it seems like a bit of a challenge at first, stick with it, and you'll be over the hump before you know it. And remember, we are always here for support if you need us!
If your kiddo has passed the age window of willingness, don’t worry! As long as we are patient, create a positive environment, and make the process FUN, we can get through this successfully together!
I’m here to help! I offer courses that cover all tricky potty topics, as well as consultation services with a powerful team of consultants who are ready to help.
Your child may show all, some, or just one of these signs when you get started. In fact, there are some kids who never exhibit any of the classic Potty-Related signs, and that's okay too!