Is My Child Ready?

Guest Authored By Courtney McCann, MA, BCBA

As a parent, you ask yourself, “is my child ready for potty training? I don’t want to start too soon or too late! How do I know if he/she is ready? How long will it take? What if my child never asks to go potty? Will he/she ever learn?”  

Toileting is a very complex skill. It integrates the behavioral and physiological processes that takes a closer look at your child’s physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities, along with their understanding of language, and their self-esteem. There are many developmental skills required for toilet-training and mastering it is a milestone in your child’s development. When your child begins to demonstrate various readiness skills, it may be a good time to talk to your Blue Bird Day team. We do not want to overestimate or underestimate their readiness to begin toilet training as we want to avoid prolonged training, added stress, or toileting challenges. At Blue Bird Day, we look at each of the developmental skills and collaborate with our multi-disciplinary team (board certified behavior analysts, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, and developmental therapists) to create an individualized plan for your child and your family. Parent training, guidance, and support is imperative and so is having a set plan for your child. Each child learns differently and may hit these milestones at different times. That is OK! If the goal is independence in toileting and your child may not be ready to begin, then we will look at breaking down the skill by creating short-term goals to increase their readiness to begin. Remember, you know your child best and comparing your child to others or setting too high expectations will not lead to success.  

Check out the potty-training readiness checklist as a tool and inform your child’s Blue Bird Day team today if you have any questions! 

To begin toilet training, you must understand it.  

Stay positive and do NOT give up! Remember why you started in the first place. Ask for help. Your Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Blue Bird Day team is here to help you! Understand that it may get messy and it will interrupt your day-to-day lives, but the reward at the end will be so worth it! Remember, it will take time and consistency is KEY!  

How to make it easier, you may ask? 

  • HAVE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT. 
  • Try for 2-3 consecutive days in your own home where it can be easily managed. 
  • Allow your child to choose the type of underwear they will begin to wear (e.g., Mickey Mouse, trucks, trains, Paw Patrol, Frozen, etc.). 
  • Use a schedule or set a timer on your phone. 
  • Decide what special treat or rewards can be used for successful eliminations.
  • Have backup underwear, pants, socks, and wipes easily accessible in the bathroom to avoid having to run all over the place! 

Oh no, what if he/she has an accident in the car! 

  • Be prepared and stay cool, calm, and collected!
  • Try placing a garbage bag or bed pad around the car seat. This will help protect the car seat and allow for easy clean up if a potty accident was to occur. 

Remember, your Blue Bird Day Team is here to help!