When to start potty training your toddler?

When to start potty training your toddler?

If you are a parent of a toddler, you may scratch your heads trying to figure out when to begin potty training your toddler. Note that age is not the only factor to consider when to start potty training. Although most children display signs that they are ready to begin potty training between 18 months and 3 years old, some may not be ready until they are a bit older. Each child has different needs and thus has a different start to potty training. 

potty training

Also, remember that using the potty is a skill just like eating by oneself. Hence, your child would eventually become successful with potty training with lots of practice. Usually, emotional and physical readiness matter more than age in terms of when a child is ready to start potty training. 

This is because beginning potty training before your child is ready can backfire. The saying, “more haste, less speed” certainly applies here. If you rush the process, you may have to deal with your child taking a longer time to use the potty successfully. Rather, if you wait till he or she is emotionally and physically ready, your child will stand a higher chance of being successful earlier on [1].

Patience certainly pays off on the part of parents. Instead of succumbing to pressure from friends or family to kickstart the process too early, taking things naturally would reap more benefits. Successful learning on how to use the potty is more likely when your child is at least 2 years of age [2]. 

This article explores some of the signs that your toddler is beginning to show readiness to use the potty. Learn some tips on how to prepare your child for potty training and begin the actual process.

#1: When Your Child Displays Interest 

Interest goes a long way and your child has to be interested to use the potty in the first place. When your child displays an interest in keeping clean or dry, about when you head to the bathroom as well as wearing underpants for older kids instead of diapers, he or she could be showing signs of readiness. You can encourage your child by talking to your child about using the potty. Showcasing healthy toileting habits to your child would spur him or her to aim towards these habits too. Be observant and watch closely for signs of interest that can help you discover the best time to start potty training for your child. 

#2: When Your Child Remains Dry

When your child remains dry for two hours or more when awake and/or wakes up with dry diapers routinely, his or her bladder capacity and control may be becoming stronger. Thus you can take this as an encouraging sign of readiness to use the potty. Note that the super absorbent diapers many children wear may make it more challenging to tell if they are truly dry, so you may need to check closely.

#3: When Your Child Is Aware Of Needing The Toilet 

When your child is aware that he or she needs to use the toilet, chances are that he or she is able to control the process of peeing or pooping. You have to observe signs that your child is keen to go to the bathroom and knows it. Here are some telltale signs that your child recognizes when they need to go or are in the process of going to the toilet”  Your child heads to a private corner to pee or poop, or even hides behind curtains to do so. As he or she is pooping or peeing, he or she points to the diaper. 

#4: When Your Child Is Becoming More Independent 

Your child’s independence is a key indicator that he or she is ready to use the potty. For instance, if he or she says that “I can do it myself” in terms of eating, drinking water, he or she is more likely to also be more independent when it comes to using the toilet.  If your child wants to model the toileting behaviors of an older sibling, you can take it as a good sign that he or she is displaying signs of readiness to potty train too. 

#5: When Your Child Is Calm 

Only potty train your child when he or she is calm and not stressed. If your child is going through a stressful period of life, such as moving to a new house, you may want to leave off potty training till a later date. 

#6: Your Child Can Change His Or Her Own Clothes 

When your child can seamlessly pull his or her pants up and down, he or she may be more ready to potty train. Bear in mind that such motor skills of dressing and undressing may differ from child to child. The bottom lines? Remain patient. You may even facilitate your child’s ability to dress or undress himself or herself by eschewing clothing that may be more difficult to take off and put on during toilet training such as tights or rompers.

#7: When Your Child Can Adhere To Instructions And Directions

There are many steps involved in using the toilet—realizing the urge to go, locating the bathroom in time, switching on the light, pulling down pants and underwear, sitting on the potty, going, wiping, flushing the toilet, then washing hands. Your child has to slowly hone the ability to do all these steps correctly. This may take some time. 

#8: When Your Child Can Remain Still

Patience is needed when using the toilet, especially when pooping. Hence, your child should be able to remain still for some time without becoming irritable or distracted. Have some books available for your child to read while your child remains on the potty. 

#9: When Your Child Can Communicate Effectively 

Your child must be able to tell you effectively with either gestures or words that he or she needs to use the toilet. 

#10: When Your Child Can Walk and Run Well

Your child must be able to walk and run on his or her own before using the potty independently. If your child is still crawling, he or she is not ready. 

Trying to ascertain when your child is ready to potty train can be challenging. After you get acquainted with the signs to look for, you will have a better idea of when to introduce the potty to your child.  


[1] L. Fitzgerald, “8 signs your toddler is ready to potty train,” Verywell Family, 27-Aug-2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.verywellfamily.com/signs-your-toddler-is-ready-to-potty-train-290259. [Accessed: 21-Sep-2022]. 

[2] “When to start potty training: 7 readiness signs,” Pampers. [Online]. Available: https://www.pampers.com/en-us/toddler/potty-training/article/when-to-start-potty-training-signs-your-child-is-ready. [Accessed: 21-Sep-2022]. 



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