Potty Training vs. Potty Readiness

potty training vs. potty readiness
Christine Brown

Christine Brown

Can you train a baby to walk before they are ready? No!

So then why do all the most popular potty training books try to sell us the line that if we miss this once in a lifetime magical window our children are going to go to college in diapers and have a lifelong problem with the tail ends of the digestive system?

If you are reading anything about potty training that sends your spidey senses up, it makes what sounds like overambitious claims or it makes you feel guilt or shame, step away from the book or computer screen!

Let me tell you a little story…

I received the text below from a client that I LOVE! We’ll call her A.

We’ve worked together several times over the past few years. Her son is a sensitive little sleeper.

Knowing her pretty well and having read the book that she was reading, I KNEW it was going to spike her anxiety! Her husband told her to text me and I’m so glad she did.

A’s son wasn’t quite three yet and she already felt like she was failing at potty training and she hadn’t even started yet! We agreed that it made sense to schedule a Potty Training Consultation.

The Consultation

A filled out our Potty Training intake form and scheduled her consultation.

When we met, we talked about potty training vs. potty readiness and why readiness is way more important than the training part. Here’s why…

Definition of training:

The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior.

Definition of readiness:

  1. the state of being fully prepared for something.
  2. willingness to do something.

If your child isn’t ready and willing to use the potty, you won’t be able to train them to do it!

What’s Happening Developmentally

When children are at the tail end of toddlerhood and rolling into preschooler territory, they have an intrinsic need to acquire some level of control. If you’ve ever tried to force a toddler to do something against their will, you know the level of pushback and tantrums you can experience! The same thing applies to potty training.

Children can control three things: eating, sleeping, and using the potty. These three areas are where children will push back on us if they feel forced to do something or they feel like their needs for power or connection aren’t being met.

If your child is truly ready, the potty training process should be pretty easy.

Sign Of Potty Training Readiness

So What Happened?

We used the potty readiness checklist (download above), to determine he was close, but not quite ready yet. Mom decided to take a relaxed approach until her son was showing all the signs and then use the tools I shared to positively encourage him to use the potty once he was ready.

A couple of months later, I receive this excited text from A!

And then a couple of weeks later, I received another update text:

What could have been a total stressfest was a smooth, “no drama” process. Instead of approaching this process as a training activity, A approached it from a child-led approach. Her son was ready and willing because he wasn’t forced to do something he wasn’t ready to do!

Steps You Can Take

Determining Potty Readiness Before Starting

Download and review the Potty Readiness Checklist to determine if your little one is really ready.

Started Potty Training & It Isn’t Going Well?

Book a Potty Training Consultation to figure out what’s going on and troubleshoot the challenges you are having so we can help you and your little one figure it all out.

We are here to help you figure out the potty training vs. potty readiness debate! Reach out today if you need help!

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