How do we know it’s time for Potty Training?

Knowing the “right time” for your tot to ditch diapers can be tricky for parents. It is necessary to be committed and have lots of patience and persistence. Until your child learns to use the potty on their own, you will go through many attempts, lots of changing of clothes, wet bedding, rugs, strollers, just to mention a few. It takes time for your child to be able to recognize the need to let go of their bodily functions, as when they are born, it happens naturally, without much control. 

When should they stop using diapers?

Only from 8 months, a baby begins to acknowledge their identity and begins to realize that there are parts of themselves. From the beginning, it can be very difficult to let go of something that they think isn’t part of them. The maturity comes gradually, so parents must be present, observant, and attentive to recognize the signs that the child is prepared to stop using diapers. Physiology speaking, between a year and a half and two years, is when our little ones begin to take control of the sphincter (part of the body responsible for the expulsion of feces and urine) which allows them to go to the bathroom when needed.

Pediatricians recommend that between 2 to 3 years is appropriate to start the process of toilet training because children now have some established habits and would be able to follow new ones. Obviously, each child is unique, therefore this period varies according to each individual. Parents play a key role in toilet training and need to be aware of signs from their children when they notice discomfort with soiled diapers, feel disgust, or inform when they have pee or poop. All of these are signs that your little one is ready to start the process!

How is the process of ditching diapers?

Yup, it is true, girls tend to go through this process faster since they are psychologically mature earlier than boys. Boys usually take longer, mainly with nocturnal enuresis – when the child pees during the night. Interestingly, having a set routine helps the process of toilet training as well as having older siblings and the ability/opportunity to see mom and dad using the potty, which engages their curiosity, hence willingness to use it themselves.

Toilet training during the day vs night

There is a difference in the process of ditching diapers during the day and night – the day occurs when the child is awake, aware, and usually happens faster. However, getting rid of diapers for the night tends to take longer because the child is sleeping, which requires greater neurological conditioning of the body. Ideally, you would start with the day process first and phase into night potty training afterward

Two days, two weeks, two months … it would be easy if you could give an exact number, right? Unfortunately, the truth is that this process relies heavily on each family – parents, and children. Parents for the method, regime, and persistence of the process, while children for their personalities, temperaments, and maturity. I generally recommend parents to commit for at least a week at home, where they can leave their children in underwear, and follow a schedule to take them to the bathroom every two hours, in addition to offering plenty of fluids!

It may take up to two months in the majority of cases for a child to be fully potty training during the day, though accidents can still happen for a while, and they are completely normal. It may take longer for nighttime, sometimes up to six months until you get a dry diaper in the morning. 

Talking to your child about potty training is also essential. Explain to them why babies and little children wear diapers and how it changes as they grow. Show them where big kids and adults use the potty and let them know they are growing, and they can start using the potty just like big kids and grownups too. Generally, speaking, boosting their confidence as being a big kid, and /or growing helps because they feel respected as an individual. Never pressure, condemn them or make them feel ashamed to wear diapers, though, as it could cause psychological trauma and compromise the entire process.