Last updated on October 10th, 2023

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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The Ideal Time to Potty Train for Both the Child AND Parent!

Are you ready to dive into potty training? Before you jump right into potty training, take a pause. Here are some questions to think about in order to make sure both you and your child are on the same page when it comes to potty training. These questions will determine your ideal time to potty train, both logistically and emotionally. 

The Ideal Time to Potty Train – Logistics

To create a potty training plan, you want to sit down with yourself, or your parenting partner, and take a look at your calendar and life for the next few weeks and months. We say this because oftentimes, parents tend to want to dive in as soon as their child says they want to use the potty. They don’t factor in a lot of other life circumstances that can affect the success of potty training. 

When you hear potty training horror stories, it can often stem from the family not checking their schedule and seeing the status of their lives for the next couple of months. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are we moving or have we just moved to a new house or location?
  • Are we having a new baby? Have we had a new baby in the last 8 weeks?
  • Are we planning on going on vacation? Will there be a lot of travel time? 
  • Do we have big birthday parties every weekend the next month?
  • Are there any big changes that are stressful for YOU as a parent? A big work deadline? A busy travel schedule?

Getting Your Emotions Ready to Potty Train 

So much of potty training success is determined by matching your temperament to your child’s temperament throughout the process. You really want to ask yourself (BEFORE you start potty training) can you dedicate the time and energy to this learning process? 

After checking in on logistics, take a second and check in with yourself. Close your eyes and think about the answers to the following questions. Think about what is important to you in this process. Some questions to think about:

  • What parts of the process are most important to you? For example, meeting the deadline of potty training by the time they are 2, potty training for a daycare or preschool start date, etc.
  • Do you have that deadline looming for potty training for your own needs, or is that deadline determined by others, not your family?
  • How would you feel if your child peed or pooped on your favorite rug or sofa? Or, if they have an accident at a friend’s house? How does that make you feel?

Just take a second and see what feelings come up. With all those questions. Are you nervous? Excited? Relaxed? Concerned? Just know that when your child learns this important skill, whatever we are feeling, they’ll also pick up on it, so we really want to be aware of our own feelings, thoughts, and attitude about the potty training process.  

A Plan for The Ideal Time to Potty Train

We encourage you to create a potty training plan. When is the right time to do this both mentally and logistically? If any of the above questions bring up shame, anxiety, fear, or anger, just check in with yourself. 

Remember your child’s other milestones, like walking and sitting up.  There was a lot of falling down, crying, and failing. You probably had to give them a lot of guidance and help. Potty training is just like this – your child really needs you! While the potty training process may be messier, think about it as tackling a big milestone together and creating an experience that will bond you. 

To review, determining the ideal time to potty train involves getting both your logistics and emotions in check!

Shame-Free Potty Training

Get all the details on how to potty train in a shame-free way through our video course, the Gentle Potty Course. This course has the tools to make this fun, successful and stress-free. Get more information and sign up HERE.

Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!