When to Start Toilet Training

Behavior & Development • Jun 26, 2018

Is My Child Ready for Toilet Training?

Thinking about toilet training your child? Before starting the process, it’s important to make sure your child is developmentally ready. Although you may be eager to discontinue the seemingly endless cycle of diaper changes, there is no benefit to early toilet training. Most children are ready to start between age 2 and 3. By this age, they are neurologically capable of containing stool and urine.

Signs Indicating When to Start Toilet Training

  • Staying dry for extended periods of time (2 hours or more)
  • Bowel movements are more predictable
  • Can walk to and from the bathroom and pull down pants independently
  • Demonstrates awareness of wet or soiled diaper
  • Demonstrates signs of the urge to defecate or urinate
    • Ex: facial expressions, doing the “potty dance,” going off to the corner to use the bathroom
  • Able to follow simple directions
    • Ex: flush the toilet, wash your hands
  • Interested in how others use the restroom and may imitate their behavior
  • Understands cause and effect
    • Ex: When I flush, my poop goes away.
  • Shows a desire to please caregivers

Remember, toilet training is not a contest! While some may be ready to train at age 2, others may not be developmentally ready until closer to age 3. If you have additional questions, your pediatrician can help!