There’s no standard age at which a child is ready to start using the potty. But most children gain the skills they need to start training when they are between 18 months and three years old. Girls tend to be ready a few months earlier than boys.
This checklist will help you to keep track of your toddler’s progress toward readiness. You don’t have to wait until your child’s achieved everything before you start training. It’s more about spotting a general trend toward independence and an understanding of what it means to go to the toilet like a grown-up.
What are the physical signs of readiness?
- Has regular, soft, formed poos at relatively predictable times, and doesn’t poo during the night.
- Has dry periods of at least one or two hours, or wakes up with a dry nappy after a nap. This shows that her bladder muscles are developed enough to hold her wee in and store it.
- Can pull her pants up and down with only a little help.
- Shows an interest when you go to the bathroom.
What are the behavioural signs of readiness?
- Shows a wish to please, and enjoys praise.
- Demonstrates a desire for independence.
- Shows signs of discomfort when her nappy is wet or dirty.
What are the cognitive signs of readiness?
- Can understand and follow simple instructions and requests, such as “Do you need a wee?” or “Where’s the potty?”.
- Has words for wee and poo.
- Shows awareness that she’s having a wee or poo. She may stop what she’s doing for a minute, or go somewhere else, or tell you that she’s had a wee or poo.
- She may tell you she needs to have a wee or a poo before she does it.