Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Ready for Potty Training?

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: My son is 26 months old and doesn't want to begin potty training. At first he refused to put on a "pull-up" and began crying, telling me he didn't like them. I took that as a cue that he wasn't quite ready. Eventually, he would wear the pull-up, but began to cry when I would put him on the potty chair. Is he just not ready? I don't want to force the issue if he's not ready, but I don't want to wait too long either.

A: You are reading your son's cues correctly. He's probably not quite ready to start toilet training. There isn't a "right" age for him to begin. The average age for toilet training is about 2 1/2 years of age, but can range from one to four years or so. I agree that his potty training shouldn't be forced -- tomorrow's another day.

During your child's check-up, talk with your pediatrician about your child's developmental readiness. Signs of readiness include imitating you in the bathroom, coming to you to say he's "going" or he has to "go," understanding two step commands (for example, "go to your room and get your shoes"), putting on and taking off his own clothes, and staying dry for several hours.

Even though your son doesn't sound like he's quite ready to potty train, it's still important to introduce the potty chair and have him become familiar with it. Place it in a convenient location (which doesn't have to be in the bathroom) so that he begins to feel comfortable with it as you encourage him. Also, allow him to watch his parent(s) use the toilet and introduce simple matter-of-fact words for anatomy, as well as urine and stool.

Toilet training is a gradual process that can take up to three months or more. As a parent, you can explain what needs to be done, but it's your child's determination that's necessary. When he's ready, it will seem to happen overnight. Your role as a parent is to encourage, reinforce, and praise your son as he is achieving this developmental milestone.

Hank Bernstein
Children's Hospital

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!