When To Start Potty Training

Jan 18, 2023 | 4 minutes Read

When should you start potty training? It’s an important question, and no parents will have the same answer. When it comes down to it, there is no set “right time” to potty train your son or daughter.

Potty training varies for every family and every child. But once you observe some potty training readiness behaviors, you’ll know it’s time to move forward with your family’s potty training adventure.

6 Common Signs of Potty Training Readiness

Whether the start of potty training comes earlier or later for your child, you’ll get your cues on “when it’s time” from your child. That emerging independence starts shining through and they’re eager to please. Now is the time to start actively watching for these signs of potty training readiness.

If your child shows two or more of these signs, it’s a good indication that they’re ready to start potty training:

  1. Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper
  2. Hiding to pee or poop
  3. Showing Interest in others’ use of the potty, or copying their behavior
  4. Having a dry diaper for a longer-than-usual time
  5. Awakening dry from a nap
  6. Telling you that they’re about to go, are going or have just gone in their diaper
6 Signs Your Child Is Ready

If you're still not sure if you are ready, take our Potty Training Readiness Quiz. This fun quiz will help you recognize some of these signs of potty training readiness and determine when it’s time to move forward with your family’s potty training adventure!

Are YOU Ready?

The potty training journey is something you and your child will be taking on together, so it’s important to make sure you’re ready to start when your child is.

  • When a child shows readiness, that’s a parent’s cue to start preparing the child by buying products such as a small potty, training pants and children’s books about using the toilet. You also can let your child practice on the potty.
  • Surf the Potty Training Tips area of Pull-Ups.com for more advice and tips and take advantage of the learning games, quizzes and songs to help you motivate your child.
  • Remember the basics of being a good coach for your potty trainer and keep things motivating right from the start by being patient, positive and consistent.

    • Focus on what your child does right. Stay upbeat. You’ll make it smoother, simpler and more rewarding for both of you.

Things to Consider When Starting to Potty Train

Toilet training is a developmental process. Children’s bodies and brains are developing all the time, and each new phase sets the foundation for those to come. No amount of teaching can make those developments happen before their time.

So, don’t try to potty train when your child is already dealing with a lot of change. Here are 10 examples of when NOT to push potty training:

  1. Experiencing the birth of a sibling
  2. Moving into a new home or having other major family changes
  3. Transitioning from a crib into a Big Kid bed
  4. No longer using a bottle at night
  5. Being weaned from breastfeeding
  6. Stopping the use of a pacifier
  7. Starting at daycare or preschool or switching to a new school
  8. Experiencing illness
  9. Being in the middle of the holidays and there’s already a cascade of candy, many late nights and excitement in the air
  10. Feeling pressure from some external force — like a preschool or a well-meaning relative — to potty train your child, but your child is not ready
Stabilize the family ship before tossing a new skill like potty training out there. And besides, YOU don’t need the extra burden of potty training when things are stressful either! Waiting until things are calm will ensure the potty training seas will be pleasant — and successful — for the whole family.

A Successful Start

When you and your child are ready to start potty training, make it a big occasion. Mark the start of potty training with the introduction of Pull-Ups® Training Pants and the potty seat. Steer clear of worrying about hard and fast deadlines. No matter what your mother told you, there’s no one right age to start potty training.

  • Keep it positive. Keep it fun. With a positive outlook and a little creativity, potty training really can be more about quality time. Find ways to encourage your child’s early interest.

    • Play up the fun with activities like decorating the potty chair, picking out rewards or creating a special potty progress chart together.
  • Use incentives. Don’t forget to load on the praise and rewards right from the start. Bragging rights and the expectation of applause are strong motivators to your child. So, find those moments to celebrate and share them with everyone in your child’s cheering section.
  • Ready, Set ... Not Yet! If your child starts out fine but then gets hopelessly stuck, no worries! It’s not unusual for the potty chair to go back into the closet for weeks or even months. If your child loses interest, hold off for a few weeks and then try again.
The real secret of successful potty training is waiting until your child shows signs of readiness that suggest interest in toilet training. Like so many skills your child will gain, potty training requires developmental readiness, and it cannot be held to a deadline. Just remember patience; your Big Kid will be potty trained when the time is right!


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