When to Start

Start potty training when the time is right for your child and your family. Try not to feel pressured. Check out our Readiness Criteria for Parents/Family and Children for signs that the time may be right. Ideally, set aside three days to devote primarily to the potty training process.

Family/Parents’ Readiness Criteria

  • No big changes in family or life, e.g, new child, a move, new job, increase in conflict, new care-giver.
  • You’re feeling ready to start it, i.e., you’re feeling flexible, tuned in positively to your child, have positive energy for the process.
  • You have three days to devote to more intensive training. Alternatively, if you do not have this amount of time, devote between 2 hours and 4 hours each day to “potty time” as opposed to “diaper time.” See Phase 1 for further information.
  • Your child is showing most of the readiness signs below.

Children’s Readiness Signs

  • Child talks or non-verbally communicates (e.g., grimaces when pooping, squirms when peeing) about bodily functions. This shows they are aware of their bodily movements and sensations.
  • Child has mastered key motor skills, e.g. walking to the potty, getting on and off potty, taking down pants and underwear, pulling up skirt.
  • Child has mastered key language skills, communicates needs, understands words like pee, poop, going potty.
  • Child has mastered key cognitive skills, i.e., can follow simple directions, can do simple problem solving, can plan and follow through on simple plans without getting distracted, e.g, if I need to pee what do I need to do?
  • Child wants to do things themselves, i.e., they want to be independent.
  • Child is imitating adults and/or older siblings and shows a desire to please.
  • Child’s bowel movements are fairly predictbable.
  • Diapers are dry for 2 or more hours, this means that your child’s bladder can store urine.
  • Child doesn’t like being dirty, their motivation may be higher as a result.
  • Child shows an interest in using the potty.