When is your child ready for toilet training?

Here are a list of things that will help you consider your child's readiness for toilet training based on their development. Of course the right time for your child and family personally is another story...

  • If your child is 20 months or older, they're likely able to be toilet trained with verbal instructions, lots of practice/direction and praise, showing them how as well as consistency and follow up. Like all developmental milestones there is personal variance in understanding instructions, bladder control and physical development. That means some children might be ready at 18 months.
  • Look at three areas to see if your child is ready - bladder control, physical development and their ability to follow instructions.

Bladder control: 

  • Does your child stay dry for several hours?
  • Does your child urinate a large amount at one time or do they dribble throughout the day?
  • Do you see facial or body gestures or movements that shows you your child is aware that they're going to urinate?

If your child does all three, they're ready for toilet training. If they do only the top two, they can still train, they may not show any physical display in the process of urinating.

Physical Readiness

  • Can your child pick up objects (has hand-eye coordination)

If your child can do this, they're ready for toilet training

Language Readiness and ability to follow instructions:

Run through this with your child:

  • Ask them to point to their nose, eye, mouth, ears
  • Ask them to sit down on a chair, stand up, walk with you to another room, imitate something (like the patty cake song)
  • Ask them to bring you a familiar object, and to put two objects together, e.g. put dolly in the truck. 

If your child can do eight of these ten tasks they are ready for toilet training.

If your child has some difficulty with the understanding instructions or language then important words to  work on are:

PLACE words: "here" "there" "up" "down"

BODY words: "hands" "foot" "legs" "arms"

TOILET words: "potty" "pants" "wet" "dry"

Check out my blog: Toilet Training In Less Than One Day. No Shit for a great way to work on toilet training with your little one.

Note: If following instructions or being stubborn is a problem it is best to work on that in general before working on this form of toilet training.


M. Anderson

B.A, M.Ed, PgDip ChFamPsych