Everyone has an opinion on when a child should be toilet trained. First time parents are often bombarded with comments of isn't he potty trained yet and my baby was potty trained at eighteen months. The conflicting advice can be confusing.
Are You Ready?
Toilet training isn't something you wake up one morning and decide to do. Before you begin, there are preparations that can make the whole thing easier. First, both parents need to decide the method that they're most comfortable with. Do you want to use a potty chair? A potty seat? What words are you comfortable teaching your child to communicate the need to use the bathroom. Next, decide if you're going to use a reward system. What will it be? A sticker chart? What does the child get for how many stickers? Is this the best time to start? Is there something major coming up in the near future that will throw the potty training program off schedule? If you're planning a marathon cross-country trip in two weeks, this probably is not the time to try to toilet train your baby unless you're ready to make potty stops every ten minutes.
Is Baby Ready?
Unless your child is ready to begin toilet training, you're in for a long haul and a lot of resistance. Until a child's neurological development reaches the point that the signal from the bladder reaches the brain in time to act, potty training will be futile.
You'll know your child is ready to begin toilet training when he expresses curiosity about the toilet and follows you into the bathroom to see what you are doing. You should encourage this and answer his questions. He'll also start having longer periods of clean diapers as he develops more control over his bladder and bowels.
Ease Into It
Toilet Training is a process, not an event. It can very well take several months for daytime toilet training to be successful and nighttime toilet training can take even longer so prepare yourself and your expectations accordingly. If you look at this as the final step from babyhood to childhood, the time flies.