You should not start toilet training until both your child and you are ready. When you are able to devote the time and energy necessary to support your child on a daily, you can start.
Your child is ready when he/she:
- signals that his or her diaper is wet or soiled;
- wakes up from naps with a dry diaper;
- is interested in the potty chair or toilet;
- feels uncomfortable if his or her diaper is wet or soiled;
- says that he or she would like to go to the potty;
- understands and follows basic instructions;
- can pull his or her pants down and then up again;
- stays dry for periods of 2 hours or longer during the day.
You may start noticing these signs when your child is 18 to 24 months of age. But it is not uncommon for a child to still be in diapers at 2 and a half to 3 years of age.
How to prepare your child for toilet training?
Allow your child to be present when you go to the bathroom and make your child feel comfortable in the bathroom. Let your child play with flushing the toilet. Your child will become familiar with the potty. So, place a potty chair in your child's normal living and play area before toilet training. Allow your child to observe, touch and become familiar with the potty chair. Consider placing a potty chair on each floor of the house if you live in a multilevel home. Allow your child to sit fully clothed on the potty chair, as if it were a regular chair. Tell your child that the potty chair is his or her own chair. Do not force your child to spend time sitting on the chair. Allow your child to leave it at any time.
After your child has become used to the potty chair, try having your child sit on the potty without wearing a diaper and pants. Let your child become comfortable with sitting on the potty without wearing pants and a diaper. After that show your child how the potty chair is used. Place stool from a dirty diaper into the potty chair. Allow your child to observe the transfer of the bowel movement from the potty chair into the toilet. Let your child flush the toilet and watch the bowel movement disappear down the toilet.