Is Your Charge Ready to Start Potty Training? By Lynn Wariara

Potty training takes effort, determination, positive reinforcement, and patience. This is one area of a child’s development that cannot be rushed and must be initiated in a delicate manner. A child must never feel intimidated during the potty training process. Ideally, potty training can be introduced to child that is between the ages of 18 to 36 months. But, if caregivers try to force potty training on a child before the child is ready, they are setting themselves up for failure.
Some signs of potty training readiness include:

  • Staying dry for at least two hours (which indicates a sign of bladder readiness).
  • Regularity in bowel movements which seem predictable. (Most children that show signs of being ready to use the potty. Watch their body language. For example, they might hide somewhere for “privacy.” You will also notice a difference in their facial expression as they are going in their diaper).
  • Communicating discomfort when wet or soiled diaper.

Ask yourself:

  • Can the child sit quietly in one position for two to five minutes?
  • Can your charge follow basic instructions?
  • Does the child seem comfortable sitting on the potty chair?
  • Can the child communicate in simple phrases?
  • Does the child seem to show an understanding of putting things where they belong?

Before potty training, it’s important that you prepare the child. Discuss what is about to take place. Let him know of how proud you are of how much he has grown and will be now using the potty. Allow the child to get accustomed to seeing the potty prior to the training. Encourage her to sit on it once in a while. Feel free to rent or buy potty training books and DVDs to prepare the child for potty training.

Lynn Wariara has worked as a nanny since 1992. She is writing a book for parents hiring a nanny and a series of children’s books and posts a blog at:

Tomorrow: Are you ready to start potty training?

What clues have you had that a child is ready for potty training?


  1. The boy I nanny for used to hide behind a big leather chair in a corner of a porch room. So funny. So clear he knew he was about to do #2 and he was embarrassed and hid. His older brother actually showed him how to go potty by making bubbles while standing up to go in the potty. Before that we were teaching him to sit down.

  2. I potty trained twins with no help of parents. Most parents are thrilled when nannies help potty train kids. Well this particular mom didn't want to deal with it. They were literally trained in ONE DAY because we had read all the children's books and videos for months. One day at bath time I brought out the potty doll. I put the dolly on the toilet and she went. I asked if they wanted to try and they did. Around the house they were 100 percent successful. No accidents.We all went to eat and the girl said she had to go potty. I said ok and ready to take her and the mom shook her head and said she put her in a diaper not to take her to the potty!! I mean, could anyone work with this lady?? Insane esp because I was willing to take her to the bathroom!!

  3. I heard of a nanny that sat a poor child on the potty for three hours saying he had to sit there until he poops. The boy apparently cried those 3 hours. Absolutely disgusting I feel abusive.

  4. I think the first time I potty trained a child was the hardest. I got frustrated whenever the child had an accident. I am sure I was harsh. Most nannies I see do get angry. It took experience reading books and this newsletter to realize to stay calm. It is hard to learn that yelling or getting overly frustrated doesn't do good and actully hurts the child.Potty training needs to be 100% good or it backfires and the child will be delayed in potty training. Need rewards otherwise what inspires them to do all that work? It is easy to let mom and dad and nanny change you then having to take stuff off, sit down do it, wipe, flush, wash hands, and so on…

  5. I have worked for moms that sit their toddler on the toilet, the kids cries, nothing really happens, then the next phone call with family the mom brags the child went potty in the toilet.The only time a parent or nanny should brag is when they are able to stay calm even when frustrated during potty training. We adults choose to remain calm and supportive but it is the child's accomplishment not ours.Lynn F. Boston suburbs

  6. I personally hate when over zealous moms or nannies try to force children to potty train to early. I think it's fine to have the child size potty seat out for the child any time after 1 year old and play or practice the potty. But forcing it to early just frustrates everyone. If the child is holding in their poops then you are doing something terribly wrong. If they cry, back off it's to soon!

  7. Can't force a kid to use a potty or they will hold in their bowel movements causing many problems.Lara South Jersey

  8. Everyone teach the kids to close the lid! Disgusting when parents do not do it either!

  9. Make sure that your child is not constipated. This is the most important in getting started. Children’s are afraid of the toilet and the whole process of getting in a cold wet small room. If you are not an expert in knowing about the constipation, get them to a doctor when you see signs of them not eating well or change of mood. Increase the amount of fluid and fiber in their daily diet. Water plays an import role in helping your child staying healthy and helping to digest easily. Give lots of water and encourage with praise when they drink. Fiber enriched food for kids include; Barley, Navy Beans, Baked Beans, Split Peas, Oat Bran, Raspberries, Green Peas, Prunes, Spinach, Broccoli, Raisins, Mixed Vegetables, Strawberries, Carrots, Potatoes, Corn, Rice, Apples, Oranges, Celery. source:

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