Potty Training During a Pandemic: Should You or Shouldn’t You?
The abundance of extra time at home has some families wondering whether or not now is an optimal time to potty train their toddler. The decision on when to begin potty training is very personal for every family; there are many factors to consider. For some families, now may be a perfect time to jump into potty training, but for others, it may make more sense to wait.
How do you decide what’s right for you?! Here are the most important things to take into consideration:
Would potty training add to YOUR stress?
This is easily the most vital factor to consider. Potty training is just as much about parent readiness as it is about child readiness. We are living in a stressful time, and if the thought of trying to navigate potty training only brings on negative or overwhelming feelings, don’t even think about it. Wait to tackle potty training until it feels doable for you and your family.
Is your child ready?
Let’s say you feel amped up about potty training and are excited to devote some of this extra home time to the process. That’s awesome! But, if your child isn’t ready, you are only setting both of you up for failure and frustration.
How can you tell if your child is ready to begin potty training? Some of the key readiness signs to be on the lookout for include: interest in the potty; identifying when their diaper is wet or dirty; imitative behaviors; can communicate their wants or needs with you; can squat for a few seconds.
Is your child emotionally available to learn a new skill?
Potty training is a big deal for toddlers; they are learning a new skill. As with learning anything new, they need to be emotionally ready to learn in order to be successful. It IS possible to be physically ready to potty train (see readiness signs to look out for above), but not quite ready on an emotional level. Some of the big reasons a child may not be emotionally ready to tackle potty training include: going through a significant transition (welcoming a sibling, switching to a new school/daycare, moving); dealing with a stressful life event; being physically sick or unwell. Navigating quarantine, which for many children may mean navigating several big transitions, certainly could impact a child’s emotional availability. If you’re seeing an uptick in tantrums, limit-testing behaviors, or regressions in other areas of development, this could be your child’s way of communicating frustration with what is happening in their world. This also tells us that now is likely not the best time to introduce a brand new skill. If this is your child, that is okay. These emotional reactions are typical and expected; our job is to listen to what this behavior is telling us.
At the end of the day, every child and family is different. There is truly no right answer. Trust your gut, and make a decision that feels right for YOU.