Kids are ready for potty training at different ages, and parents are often left wondering when to start potty training. If you’re curious “How early can you start potty training?” there’s no set answer — at least not a number. But there are some proven ways to determine if your child is ready. The answers to these eight questions can help make the process go more smoothly.
1. How early can you potty train?
To learn to use the toilet, your child needs to be able to get themself to the toilet and be able to communicate the need to go. Your child should be able to pull on a pair of pants without help. And finally, your child should have some awareness of the signals that they need to go.
Our readiness quiz can help you determine if your child is ready, and you can also look for these common readiness signs including awakening dry from a nap and hiding to pee or poop.
2. What gear will I need to potty train?
Buying Pull-Ups® training pants and underwear should be a readiness event as well. Dr. Frank recommends practicing by sitting on the potty fully clothed as a first step. If you’re using a potty chair, let the child get acquainted with it by using it for play, such as potty training a favorite doll or stuffed animal.
3. How should we start potty training?
When you’re sure your child is ready to start, consider these fun ways to kick off the potty training journey. From creating a sticker chart to track success to creating a fun “going to the potty” song, there are many fun ways to make the process more joyful for you and your toddler. These potty training games can help your child understand — and get ready for — the transition to using the potty too.
4. How can I tell when my child needs to go?
When your child starts recognizing the urge, there might be some false alarms — moments when they run to the potty but don’t actually need to use it. Be patient. False alarms are the first step in the child gaining some control. Until then, a child is at the mercy of their parents, but when potty training begins, it is the first time they can take control over some element in their life. It is a first step toward independence.
5. My son wants to stand up when he goes to the bathroom. Should I let him do that from the beginning?
Just remember that standing requires more hand-eye coordination, says Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician in Austin, Texas. Dr. Frank suggests that, rather than using a potty chair or balancing on a stool, let your son use a bucket to pee in, which is higher than a typical chair and has a wider opening to shoot for.
6. Why does my child have an easy time peeing on the potty but not pooping?
7. Why does it seem like potty training girls is much easier than potty training boys?
However, Dr. Frank notes that, while on average boys do begin potty training a little later than girls (average age for boys is 30 months for girls is 28 months), the length of potty training time is the same for both boys and girls.
8. Should I give rewards for potty training?
Above all, the experts recommend patience and consistency. When you’ve switched from diapers to Pull-Ups® training pants, don’t go back. This move is a big signal to your toddler than they’re on their way to becoming a Big Kid. While the process might not go as quickly as you’d hope, your child will be potty trained eventually — and you’ll both have a big accomplishment to celebrate together!