Every parent looks forward to the time when their child will be potty trained, but it is vital that you do not force a child into it. Toilet training a toddler requires patience and understanding and takes time.

There is no set time when it is best to begin toilet training, it depends on the physical and psychological development of each child. Children under 12 months of age have no control over their bladder or bowel movements so it is useless to begin at this age. Typically children begin to show signs of being ready between the ages of 18 – 30 months.

The following signs can be an indication that your child is ready to begin toilet training:

  • Your child’s diapers are dry for periods of 2 hours or longer and it is dry after a nap
  • Bowel movements become more regular and predictable
  • You child starts communicating through words, posture or facial expressions that they are about to have a bowel movement
  • Your child can follow simple direction and instructions
  • Your child can walk to the bathroom and undress without assistance
  • Your child does not like soiled diapers and wants them changed right away
  • Your child asks to use the toilet
  • Your child wants to wear grown up underwear rather then diapers

It is extremely important that your child not be afraid of toilet training. If they are fearful or resistant, then wait to begin the process.

Stress or major change can hinder a child in toilet training or make them regress. Below are some examples or stressful situations or major changes:

  • Your family is preparing to move or has just moved
  • Your family is expecting a new baby or has just had a new baby
  • There is some type of family crisis such as a recent death or major illness

Most children begin to recognize a bowel movement before the need to urinate, so it may take them longer to be toilet trained with urination rather than bowel movements, but that is normal.

Encourage your child to let you know when they are about to urinate or have a bowel movement. This can be a first sign that your child is beginning to recognize their body functions and may be ready to begin toilet training.

If you are unsure about when to begin toilet training it is always best to discuss it with your individual pediatrician.

*Above Information provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics