According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children can potty train anywhere between 18 months old and 4 years old, so how do you know when your child is ready to begin potty training? Fortunately, they also have a checklist of toileting skills necessary for successful potty training. You don't want to try training your child before he is ready; that will only make the process longer and more difficult.
1. Physical Skills
Certain physical skills have to be in place before your child can begin going on the toilet. Otherwise you're just training yourself to bring your child to the potty every 10 minutes. To begin potty training, your child should regularly stay dry for at least two hours during the day time. She also needs to have regular and predictable bowel movements. If you're not sure about these physical skills, keep track of diaper changes for a few days to look for patterns.
2. Emotional Skills
Emotional skills play a big part in being ready for toileting. First of all, a child needs to be interested in going on the potty and in wearing underwear. That usually coincides with a dislike of having a dirty diaper. If your kiddo isn't bothered by a poopy diaper then the motivation to go on the potty just won't be there. Toddlers also need to be able to understand and follow simple directions to use the toilet successfully.
3. Motor Skills
Even if a child is physically and emotionally ready, she might not have to motor skills to make this transition. If your child can't walk to and from the potty by herself, then you need to hold off on potty training. Your child should also be able to pull his pants up and down independently, though it's fine if you have to help with buttons or snaps. But if clothing or walking is still a struggle, your child needs to focus on that, not potty training.
4. Timing Skills
This one is not a skill, exactly, but more like a circumstance. Toileting training needs to come at an appropriate time in the child's life. If you've just had a baby, moved or your little one has just started at a new preschool or day care, then it's not the right time to start potty training him. Kids, like adults, need time to adjust to new routines.