What to Do While Waiting if Your Child Isn’t Ready

ready for potty training


Sometimes children simply aren’t ready for potty training, no matter what tactics you try. This can be ridiculously frustrating, especially when other moms chime in on their successes while you struggle. But comparing your kid to everyone else’s won’t help, so don’t even start. Simply put, your child probably just isn’t ready. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But that doesn’t mean you have to completely put potty training on the back-burner. After all, toddlers aren’t ready to get their drivers’ license but they still play with toy cars.

If your child isn’t ready to potty train, there are still a few things you can do to pique their interest while you wait. That way, when they are actually ready, they’ll be one of those kids who train in only a matter of days. First you have to assess whether they are ready, both physically and emotionally.

Signs Your Child Isn’t Ready for Potty Training

It could actually take longer to train your child if you start too young than it would if you simply wait until he or she is ready. According to the Mayo Clinic, many kids show interest in potty training by age 2, but won’t actually be ready until age 2 ½ or older. Experts say that children who display the following signs are most likely ready to start potty training:

  • Showing interest in the toilet or potty chair.
  • Wanting to wear “big-kid” underwear.
  • Able to follow simple directions.
  • Able to communicate that they need to go to the bathroom, either through words, facial expressions, or body language.
  • Staying dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day.
  • Able to pull down his or her pants and pull them up again.

What You Can Do While Waiting

If your child can’t do any of the above, don’t fret. He or she is probably not ready, and that is fine! By discretely getting them interested in potty training, you’ll make the process less scary and build a foundation for success. Here are a few ways to get them interested:

  • Get some potty training books and videos.
  • Sing potty training songs.
  • Get a doll that your child can teach to use the potty. There are some dolls specifically made for potty training.
  • Take your child shopping for a potty chair and some character underwear. You can even let them wear underwear over their diapers.
  • This might seem weird, but if you’re comfortable with it, leave the door open when you go to the bathroom. Yes, your few moments of privacy will be sacrificed, but you’ll be leading by example, which can do wonders when potty training. It is around the potty training age that children start to mimic the actions of their parents. So, take advantage of the fact that your child secretly idolizes you; he or she may show a little more interest in using the potty.

While waiting, don’t forget to do an occasional check in now and then. For example, if you’re brushing your child’s teeth while getting ready for bed and there is a potty chair just sitting in the bathroom, ask your child if they want to use it before going to bed. If they say no, so be it. One day, he or she might say yes.

Additional Potty Training Resources:

When Potty Training Problems Are a Serious Stress

7 Signs Toddler are Ready for Potty Training 

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Angie Long

Angie is an experienced freelance writer and mother of two. She has extensive experience working in professional training, including the development and evaluation of training and exam material. She has a background in elementary education. Angie has a 4-year-old who still struggles with potty training, yet her 8-year-old nailed it by two years of age.

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