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When to start potty training for toddlers

Updated on January 4, 2016

Potty Training for Toddlers

One of the challenging things of being a parent of a toddler is to potty train your kid at the right time and having the patience through the process. Some toddlers are ready as young as 10 months, but some at 18 months and others even at 36 months. Hopefully this article will help potty train your kid in an easier and fun way.

Potty training for boys
Potty training for boys

Signs to start

While each child is different, most children ready to begin potty training between the ages of two and two and a half years old. Some toddlers are ready to start potty training as young as 18 months. However, some children may not be ready until he/she is three years old. You should choose a potty chair once your toddler has shown that he is ready to begin toilet training. You can have him decorate it with stickers and sit on it with his clothes on to watch TV, etc. to help him get used to it. Whenever your child shows signs of needing to urinate or have a bowel movement you should ask him if he wants to use the potty or take him to the chair and explain to him what you want him to do.

Potty Training basic readiness

Toddlers who are ready for training exhibit certain signs of readiness. These signs of readiness indicate the maturity and interest required for success. Look for signs that show your toddler is ready for this important step, and when you toddler is ready, you're sure to recognize the following clues.

A toddler requesting a diaper change is well aware of the irritation caused by a wet or dirty diaper. If your toddler is capable of coming to you to ask for a diaper change, or going as far as to bring a diaper to you, they are capable of letting you know when they need to use the toilet. This is a major signal of motivation, and it shouldn't be ignored. Take this cue as a significant sign of potty training readiness.

Toddlers begin to show interest in what mom, dad, and siblings are doing in the bathroom, and they want to do the same. Take advantage of this natural curiosity and the desire to learn, and beginpotty training your toddler. Not only will you save money, but in the long run, you'll also save time and effort.

Potty training chart for toddlers
Potty training chart for toddlers


Look out for these signs to detect if you can start potty training for your toddler:

  • Toddler's bowel movements have become regular.
  • Yourkid can sit up, stand, and walk without support.
  • When he/she shows signs of discomfort or disapproval while he/she is in a dirty diaper.
  • Toddler has become more independent and asks to do more things by himself/herself.
  • He/she has the ability to pull his/her pants off and on.
  • Your boy/girl shows a disinterest in wearing diapers and an interest in wearing underwear.
  • Toddler has specific words for his/her urine and feces.
  • Toddler can understand the physical signs that he/she needs to go to the bathroom.


Don't expect your toddler to come to you when it's time to use the toilet. It's necessary to take a toddler to the toilet at regular intervals. Until your toddler realizes what is expected, you really should take a bathroom break every half hour to forty-five minutes, especially after meals. The first time your toddler uses the toilet, he or she will finally realize what the fuss is all about.

Potty training chair for boys and girls
Potty training chair for boys and girls

Tips for Success

Potty training toddlers should be a fun and exciting experience for both you and your child. Remember, your child should feel in control of the process. Take a slow, casual, matter-of-fact approach, and make it fun! Books, videos and activities are available to help you and your child through this process.

Always encourage and praise your child. Reward systems used by parents during potty training can help the potty training process. A chart can be used to reward your toddler for using the toilet successfully. Let your toddler be involved and let him help you make the chart. Visit the craft store and make a chart together using a theme or characters your toddler likes. Each time your toddler successfully uses the toilet, place a sticker on the chart for that day. At the end of each successful day, reward your child with a special reward. The reward does not have to be expensive. It can be something as simple as ice cream for dessert.

Do not begin training until your child shows signs that he/she is ready and when you can spend a lot of time together. In the beginning, yourtoddler will not be able to easily recognize when it's time to go use the potty so you may need to ask your child on a regular basis if he has to go potty.

Never pressure or punish your child for unsuccessful attempts at using the potty, or if he/she has an accident. If he is having a difficult time at first grasping the concept, understand that this is normal, and try again the next day beginning right when your toddler first wakes up.

Most of all, be patient. Your child will learn to use the potty when he or she is ready.

Potty Training video


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    • graveyard-rose profile image

      Heather Marie 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Any pointers for twin toddlers??

    • profile image

      jc 4 years ago

      Try the towel potty training method.

    • profile image

      Brandy 4 years ago

      All depends on the signs and whether you catch onto them. This helped me learn the best training methods:

    • AustralianNappies profile image

      AustralianNappies 6 years ago from Australia

      Very useful, thanks.

    • EmmaMedu profile image

      EmmaMedu 7 years ago

      This is very useful advice. I know that some children become ready sooner and some later. But, to be completely honest, I can't imagine having a 3 years old child with diapers. I think the problem is in disposable diapers. People don't have to wash them all the time and actually don't care if the child will start to use potty with 2 or 3 years.

      My daughter is 19 months old now and I'm in the last phase of potty training. Now she only pees sometimes in her diapers and the rest she does on her potty.

      I hope in a couple of weeks diapers will be past tense.

    • profile image

      baby potty training 7 years ago

      Your hub is full of great information. Potty training for me had its ups and downs but it became a lot easier once i got some tips such as these.

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 8 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

    • blessedmom profile image

      blessedmom 9 years ago from USA

      Wow...that's wonderful. I will try it with my next child. Thanks for your comments.

    • top-bannana profile image

      top-bannana 9 years ago from England

      Sorry i totally disagree with you on this, my daughter is 10 months old and has been using the potty since 6 months. She always lets me know when she wants to use the potty.

      Since 6 months I have had only 3 dirty nappies and this is because i didn't listen to her. My mum told me to start her at 6 months as she did this with us and both myself and my brothers were fully trained by 14 months even through the night.

      I also passed this advice to my friends who have children the same age and they are all having equally sucessful results.

      My daughter happily sits on the potty and has been known to hold her stools until she is on the potty and really hates having a dirty nappy.