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Who's Ready for a Potty?

It's hard not to want to toilet train your little one as soon as shecan walk. Your friend tells you her 18-month-old boy potty trained in aweek. The daycare refuses to take kids who aren't toilet-trained. And itseems there is a bright and shiny new potty in every home you visit.That's a lot of pressure!

Welcome to potty training anxiety. A very common parenting phenomenonthat can be put to an abrupt end by asking yourself one simplequestion: Is my little one even ready to potty train yet?

"Every child is unique and will be ready to potty train at adifferent age, so there's no need to stress yourself out or compare yourchild to other toddlers," says Kathrym Espana, M.D., a pediatrician atTexas Children's Pediatrics Fannin in Houston.

Although research indicates that the best time to start pottytraining is when a toddler is between 24 to 32 months old, Espana saysthe most ideal time is when your little one is developmentally ready.

Here are some signs that indicate your kiddo is ready to give it a go.

She knows when it's time.

Maybe she squats, gruntsor tugs on her diaper. Perhaps she uses a word to let you know. Whenyour child shares that she's about to poop or pee, it means that she isbecoming aware of what it feels like when she has to go potty. That'skey.

The potty interests her.

Bring up the potty as atopic of conversation. Does your little one like talking about it? Willshe sit on it? If so, you're heading in the right direction. Tears orresistance at the mere mention of a potty means-oops, the timing isn'tright.

She understands directions.

Ask your little one to"sit down" or "stand up." Does she get what you're asking her to do?More importantly, does she do it? She needs to be able to comprehend and follow through on instructions before she's ready to be toilet trained.

Her diapers stay dry longer.

Surprise! Your toddlerwakes up from her nap and her diaper is completely dry. Then you go on aplaydate and don't even have to change her. Once she's staying dry forperiods of two hours or more, it's a sure sign that she isdevelopmentally on her way.

She has more motor skills.

You know walking is a must before you can train, but other gross and fine motor skills arerequired, too. Your little one needs to be able to have proper fingerand hand coordination so that she can pull her pants up and down. Theability to sit down on the potty -and get back up again-is also a must.

Remember, only 40 to 60 percent of toddlers complete potty trainingby the time they are three years old, so no worries if your little oneisn't on the same timeline as her peers or siblings. It will happen whenshe is ready. Until then, it wouldn't hurt to just browse the potty aisle the next time you're alone at the store.

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