Potty Training Readiness Checklist

Isn’t it amazing how quickly our kids grow up? Before you know it, they start to show signs of independence when just a second ago they needed you for everything. The time for your child to wear diapers seems to be coming to an end, but how do you know exactly when to start potty training?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to teaching your child how to use the potty because each child develops at a different pace. That said, most children will be ready to start learning between the ages of 18 and 24 months.

In some cases, however, a child might not be interested in potty training until they are 3 or 4 years old. A lot of parents these days delay potty training for about another 6 to 12 months or until they are sure that their child is better able to control their bladder.

So there really are no hard and fast rules but, if you learn what signs to watch our for, you will know whether or not your child is ready. It’s important to wait until they are really ready or you will find that it will be a long, uphill battle.

Children who are younger than a year old are not able to control their bodily functions at all. Older children have differing aspects of control when it comes to eliminating waste. For example, a child may able to control their bladder during the day but lack the same control overnight. When evaluating potty-training milestones, it is a good idea to consider nighttime dryness a separate entity.

To make things easier, we have drawn up a cheat sheet for you so that you know what to look out for but before we move onto the cheat sheet, remember that it is only a guide. If your child is showing signs of greater independence and signs that they understand how adults use the bathroom, they may be ready to learn, even if they are not showing all the signs that we have listed below. If you feel that your child is ready, our Successful Strategies for Potty Training guide will be most helpful.

Potty Training: Signs That Your Child is Ready

Here is what you need to ask yourself:

Physical Signs

  • Does my child have predictable bowel movements and well-formed stools?
  • Can my child walk reasonably steadily without assistance?
  • How often do you need to change a wet diaper and how much is the child urinating at one time? More urine in less frequent sessions points to better bladder control.
  • Can your child stay dry for a minimum of two hours or through their naptime – another indication of better bladder control.

Behavioral Signs

  • Is my child able to get their pants up or down without assistance?
  • Is my child able to sit quietly by themselves for a few minutes?
  • Does my child want to do more things for themselves?
  • Has my child become interested in what people do in the bathroom?
  • Has my child complained of having a soiled diaper?
  • Has my child started indicating when they are having a bowel movement by telling you or perhaps squatting or grunting?
  • Does my child seem keen to learn how to use the toilet?
  • Does my child feel pride about what they have accomplished?
  • How co-operative is my child being when it comes to learning in general?

Cognitive Signs

  • Can my child follow basic instructions like “Put the toy away”?
  • Does my child’s vocabulary include words to describe poop or pee?
  • Does my child understand why things should be put in the right place?
  • Can my child recognize the physical signals their bodies give when they need to use the potty in time so that they can either tell you or make it to the potty in time?