A toddlers feet dangling from the toilet

Toddlers and Potty Training: When Are They Ready?

This is a topic mom’s everywhere discuss amongst each other. There is no one right way to determine if your child is ready to potty train, but there are several signs that could help you figure it out.

Physical Signs

Around the age of twenty months toddlers should be having fewer and fewer wet diapers. They should be urinating more at one time and less frequently. If your toddler is going an hour or two at a time  without peeing this could mean that they can physically hold it and might be ready to potty train. Another good indicator is that your child’s bowel movements are at fairly predictable times and well-formed. Alerting others of their bodily functions, which could mean verbally announcing it or squatting and grunting, means that they are aware of what is going on. That can help with the potty training process. They should also be able to help themselves undress easily to make it easier to potty on their own.

Behavioral Signs

Most of the time a child will show interest in things concerning the toilet. They want to help flush and see where the toilet paper goes. Sometimes they even encourage you to use the toilet. If your child seems fascinated with all things related to the toilet then this could mean he or she is ready to try it out. Another important milestone to pass before trying to potty train is sitting still for 3-5 mins. It’s important for toddlers to sit on the potty and wait to go, so if your child cannot sit still then it might be better to wait. Some kids sit still better with access to a book or small toys to play with while trying to potty.

It is important for your child to take pride in his or her accomplishments too. This will make potty training easier because your child will remember the pride and joy he or she felt and it will motivate him or her to continue doing well. It’s also recommended to potty train while your child is in a cooperative phase. This means that if every day tasks like getting dressed or eating have been a battle lately then it’s likely potty training will be to. Most toddlers go through stages frequently, so waiting till your child is cooperative will pay off big time.

Cognitive Signs

Your child should be able to follow simple, one-step directions before trying to potty train. Directions like “go get that toy” and “stop” should be easily accomplished by your toddler. He or she should also understand how to put things where they belong. Your child probably knows where the shoes go and that the milk is in the fridge. Toddlers pick up on categorizing things before you even realize they have. It is also helpful to wait till your child has words for bathroom functions, such as “pee” and “poop”.

Last Updated: June 16, 2017