When’s the Right Age to Start Potty Training?

Green potty

Green potty


Every parent asks this question but in truth, there is no right age to potty train. While most are potty trained between the ages of 2 and 3, it can take a little longer for other children. Natural readiness simply varies from child to child. It takes time, understanding and patience. You cannot rush your child into using the toilet. The right time depends on the child’s physical and psychological development. Children gain bowel and bladder control at their own pace.

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How Do I Know When My Child is Ready?

Most children are not ready until they are two, some not until they are three and often boys are later than girls. So how can you tell when they are ready? Well here are a number of indications:

  • Taking an interest in the toilet and why others use it
  • Pulling at their nappies
  • Telling you when they’ve wet their nappies
  • Telling you they do not want to wear nappies anymore.


How Do I Get My Child Ready To Use The Potty?

  • Teach your child words associated with using the toilet e.g. wet, dry, it’s coming. Use words you are comfortable with.
  • Let them choose their potty
  • If you choose to use the toilet, make sure they can easily get in and out, that there is a special seat or footstool.
  • Keep track of when your child goes to the toilet


How Do I Get My Child to Recognise Signs of Needing to Use The Potty?

  • If you think your child might be ready to start potty training, choose a time when you are likely to have the time and patience to give him your full attention.


  • Some toddlers can be introduced to toilet training by getting comfortable with the potty first, e.g. leaving the potty where he can see and touch it, or letting teddy sit on the potty ‘to do a wee’.


  • You might start by noticing when your child has been to the toilet in his nappy and tell him, ‘I think you need to use your potty’.  Later watch for signs that he is about to need the potty (such as expressions on his face or stopping very still for a moment) and guide him to the potty or toilet. You might say something like ‘Let’s see if there’s a wee coming’. Eventually he will be able to know and get there himself.


  • If your child tells you before he needs to go, thank him for telling you and take him to the toilet or potty straight away. Toddlers cannot ‘hold on’ for more than a few seconds.


How Do I Encourage My Child to Use The Potty?

  • If he doesn’t get there in time at first, give him praise for whatever he has managed, e.g. pulling down his pants, trying to get to the toilet, or sitting on the toilet.


  • Reward successes with cuddles. Say things like ‘I am proud of you for trying’. Be positive and praise small successes. Learning to use the toilet is a new skill and a difficult one.


  • Hygiene is very important. Teach them how to wipe themselves. Most toddlers don’t have the skills to wipe properly, so you will need to do this with them until they can get it right.


  • Teach boys and girls to always wash their hands after using the toilet or potty.







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