Potty Training Series: When to Start Potty Training Your Toddler

Before Elle was born, I thought I would be nervous AF to change her diaper… let alone 8  of them… a day. But the moment she was born, the unconditional love I felt for her as her father (cheesy but true!) made diapers no big deal. The level of dependence she had on me as a caregiver is truly something only a parent would know and made the task such a minor detail in the process of watching her grow.

Now, though, my two-and-a-half-year-old toddler exudes independence and is like a walking, talking, Huggies commercial when she factually proclaims that she’s “a big kid now!” As it turns out, this kind of enthusiasm and confidence is the first sign that your toddler is ready to be potty trained.

Like a domino effect,  when she started to take an interest in the ducky-shaped potty I bought for her and casually kept around the house, and when she started expressing a desire to wear big girl underwear, I started reading and researching when and how to start potty training toddlers. Here are some of the telltale signs that it’s “go” time, and the method her mom and I decided on as a process to potty train her.

As I go through the ups and downs of potty training, I will definitely share my journey, tips and tricks. If you have any suggestions, or simple encouragement along the way, I’ll gladly take that too!

When to Start Potty Training Your Toddler

As I’m learning, like most things child-related, there is no one-size-fits-all age or timeline to potty train one’s toddler. Like the diapers they wear, we as parents should be adjustable and flexible enough to read our own child’s cues to know when the time is right. Here are some of the most common signs that potty training might be around the bathroom corner:

  • Your child is staying dry for at least two consecutive hours during the day.
  • Your child is dry after naps.
  • He or she are able to follow simple instructions such as requests to walk to the bathroom, sit down, and remove their clothes.
  • Your child is interested in wearing “big girl” or “big boy” underwear. In Elle’s case, she was more than interested and in fact, displayed severe FOMO from not being able to!
  • Your child knows when their diaper is wet or soiled and can communicate it through crying, fussing, facial expressions, postures, verbal language or other obvious signs of discomfort.

Through my research, it seems that these signs tend to appear within 18 – 30 months of age. However, if you are going through a major transitional time, like moving or taking an inter-Canada vacay, you may want to shift potty training to a more stable time period where your toddler can be in their own routine, their own comfortable surroundings, and fairly relaxed.

While researching, I also read through many types of processes and journeys to successfully potty training your toddler.  In the end, the one Elle’s mother and I agreed on was a five phased approach as described by Jamie Glowacki in Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right. In my next post, I will share the five recommended phases of potty training that Elle and I will be going through.

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