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.