Had enough of wiping your child’s bottom and taking out trash loaded down with wet diapers? Hey, it’s only natural after a few years of parenting. But when should a child be potty trained? That is, when do the butt-wiping and the soggy-trash come to an end?
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive answer to that question: When should a child be potty trained? You’ll also find some guidance on why a child might potty train at an accelerated or decelerated pace.
At What Age Do You Start Potty Training?
Here’s the thing about potty training: Kids will start letting you know when they’re ready. How do they let you know? They become more and more reluctant to poop and pee in their diapers.
Age 2 is a common time to start thinking about potty training. You’ll find that a child who is ready for potty training exhibits the following behaviors:
- Staying dry through nap time
- Curiosity about others using the potty
- Telling you when about to go in a diaper
- Telling you after going in a diaper
- Hiding a wet or dirty diaper
- Pulling or showing other signs of diaper discomfort
If you’re seeing any of these signs, it’s time to consider potty training.
Potty Training Differences By Gender
Little boys and girls are a little bit different when it comes to the average potty-training timeline. In fact, a 2002 academic study indicates that girls on average potty train just a few months earlier than boys. Here are the details:
When to Start Potty Training a Boy
The study noted above tested to see when boys and girls were “staying dry during the day.” That study found that the median age for boys to stay dry during the day was 35 months — or, just one month shy of turning 3.
When to Start Potty Training a Girl
When were girls able to stay dry during the day? At a median age of 32.5 months, which is closer to 2-and-a-half years old than to 3. Of course, individual boys and girls may potty train across a range of different ages, and that’s just fine. But girls are more likely to potty train earlier than boys.
Don’t Forget About Birth Order
If you’re potty training a second child, you may find that he or she potty trains at an earlier age than your firstborn — no matter the gender. That’s because younger siblings are often watching older siblings and following their leads. If an older sibling is seen peeing and pooping in the potty, the younger sibling will be more eager to replicate that behavior.
How Long Does Potty Training Take?
This is a hard question to answer: How long does it take to potty train? In some cases, it might take just a few days. In others, it could take weeks. In still other cases, it might be months before your child is fully potty trained.
That said, be aware that your child might grow more comfortable with peeing in the potty before pooping. In some instances, children are fully potty trained to go No. 1 well before they are fully potty trained to go No. 2. This is natural and not something to worry about.
Potty Training Deadlines
You may find that potty training is a gatekeeper for certain activities. There may be preschools or day camps or church events that non-potty trained kids are not allowed to participate in. If you’re staring down the deadline for a preschool or a similar program that requires potty training, plan ahead so that you have plenty of time to help your child master using the toilet. Need a little help? Try these 30 potty-training tips from Parents Magazine.
Final Thoughts on When a Child Should Be Potty Trained
OK, when should you talk to your doctor about potty training? If your child reaches 4 years old and still has not potty trained, it’s time to talk to the pediatrician.
But keep in mind that potty training is a process! Your child may seem fully potty trained, but don’t be surprised if accidents happen — especially when your child is outside of his or her regular routine. It’s age 4 when those accidents should become less and less or disappear altogether.
Do you have anything to add on potty training? Share in the comments section below, or send a message using our contact page.