One of the most costly endeavors of parenting has to be the use of diapers. No doubt, these plastic (or hey, maybe cloth) items can put a serious damper on your budget. The older your kid gets, the larger the size of the diaper, and the more expensive they become. Plus, there’s the cost of baby wipes and laundry! And it’s not like you can just stop…Or can you? Many parents wonder what the best potty training age is, hoping that they can start getting rid of those crap-laden faux undies before their first birthday. But the thing is, it’s not that simple.

You mean there’s not best potty training age?

According to KidsHealth.org, age is not really a solid indicator of when to begin potty training. Bummer, right? Here’s the deal. A large portion of kids start showing potty training readiness between 18 months and 24 months. Some little ones even show readiness long before then. Others, well, they like to take their time. Additionally, it may take boys longer to potty train.

So what’s a parent to do?

Well, rather than solely relying on a magic age (because it doesn’t actually exist), you’ll want to read your child for signs of readiness. For example, if your child is able to follow easy instructions and basically understands the concept of potty training (here’s where you sit, this is what you do, etc.), then they might be ready (or at least inching towards ready).

potty training age

Image: Flickr / Todd Morris

When your child can tell you that they need to use the potty, that’s another good indicator. If your child shows a lot of interest in using the potty and wearing underwear, that’s also an excellent sign. You’ll also want to see if they’re able to walk over to the potty, pull down their diapers or training pants, sit on the potty, and then get off the potty. It takes a lot of work to learn to do all of that, so have patience with your toddler. Most importantly, when they’re able to control the muscles for elimination (a.k.a. going number 2) and can also keep their diapers dry for 2 or more hours, you’re practically home free.

So if you’re still fretting that your kiddo is still in diapers, well, I feel you. But the most important thing is to make this a positive experience for your child. Pushing them into training before they’re ready will surely cause more accidents than waiting until they call the shots.

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(Image: iStock / Saklakova)