Toilet Training Readiness: signs to watch

Do you think your little one is ready to start potty training? Read this article to see if they are showing signs of toilet training readiness.

Signs of toilet training readiness
Signs of toilet training readiness taken from

Signs of Toilet Training Readiness

The most important tip that we can give in terms of the signs of toilet training readiness is that the more signs there are, the easier and quicker it will be.

The number one toilet training mistake that parents make is starting before their child is ready. There is no magic age for toilet training but experts suggest you start between 18 and 24 months. This is when your child will have the cognitive and physical skills necessary for toilet training. Many parents don’t start until their child has reliable bladder control during the day. Some children are simply not ready until around 3 to 4 years of age. Use the checklist below to gauge their readiness, let your child guide you by showing signs of toilet training readiness.

Some children who have bladder control during the day, may not be able to stay dry at night. You can think of day time and night time toilet training as separate milestones.

Use this guide to see how many signs of toilet training readiness your child is showing. You child does not have to show every sign, but look for the general trends as a gauge.


Physical Signs of Toilet Training Readiness:

  • Your child is coordinated enough to walk, even run, steadily
  • Your child urinates a fair amount at one time
  • Their bowel movements are well-formed and relatively predictable
  • Your child stays dry for periods of at least 2 hours (or during naps), this shows that the bladder muscles are developed enough for toilet training
  • Is able to pull his pants up or down


Behavioural Signs of Toilet Training Readiness:

  • Your child can sit quietly in one position for 2 to 5 minutes at a time
  • Your child dislikes the feeling of wearing a wet or dirty nappy and tells you when they need to be changed
  • Your child has an interest in bathroom habits (e.g. follows you or siblings into the bathroom or wants to wear underwear)
  • Your child demonstrates social imitative play (playing/acting out using the bathroom, interacting with the potty by sitting on it or pretending to go)
  • Your child asks to use the potty or wear regular underwear
  • Your child has a special place that they go hide when needing to have a bowel movement
  • Gives verbal or physical cues when having a bowel movement (e.g. grunting, squatting or telling you)
  • Your child shows a desire for independence
  • Your child demonstrates the interest in pleasing you and takes pride in his accomplishments
  • Your child doesn’t resist when you ask them to sit on the potty and is generally at a cooperative stage)


Cognitive Signs of Toilet Training Readiness:

  • Your child understands potty vocabulary and uses words for urine and stool
  • Your child has physical signals that mean that they need to go (like a dance, squat or “bum wiggle”)
  • Your child can tell you before they need to go or can hold it until reaching the potty
  • Your child can follow simple instructions (like please fetch that toy)
  • Is beginning to understand the value of putting things away


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