When Should I Toilet Train my Child?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to toilet training your child. What works for one child, may not work for another. The toilet training process takes time and patience as your child undertakes learning this brand new skill. Even if you’re an experienced parent, toilet training can present unique challenges to both you and your child. Here are a few tips that will help you triumph over toilet training.

When to Begin Toilet Training


Tips for Potty Training

Image courtesy of Potty Training Boys Guide

The most important thing to remember is every child starts toilet training at a different time. Children will display telltale signs when they are ready for toilet training. Examples of this include your child stopping during an activity to use their diaper, or clutching their diaper to alert you that they need to be changed. Most children begin to show signs of readiness between 18 to 24 months. However age is not the only qualifier for toilet training readiness. Your child is usually ready for toilet training when they are able to:

  • understand basic directions and instructions
  • keep a diaper dry for more than 2.5 hours
  • express a need to go verbally or physically
  • understand bathroom words or etiquette
  • pull down diapers or underpants

In addition to physical signs of readiness, parents should also take note of emotional signs as well. Your child is emotionally ready for toilet training when they begin exhibiting signs of independence, such as wanting to do certain things on their own.

Purchasing the Right Seat for the Training Process

Many parents choose to purchase a seat to toilet train their child. Toilet training seats are available at most major consumer goods stores. A

seat isn’t required for the training process, but it helps the child feel safe and more aware of their training. There are two general potty options to consider:

  • A standalone, smaller chair with a bowl that is emptied into the toilet
  • A toddler size seat that is placed on top of the toilet seat

Choose the option that works best for your needs.

Commencing the Toilet Training Process

After you have purchased the right seat for your child’s training process, practice these quick tips to have a seamless transition from diapers to toilet training:

Potty Training Tips


  • Establish a Routine. All children flourish with routines, and the toilet training process is no exception. Designate time each day for your child to sit on the toilet. This might be after waking up with a dry diaper or 15 minutes after drinking fluid.
  • Adapt your child’s wardrobe. Some parents prefer to use training pants after diapers. Training pants are a comfortable and easy way for children to grasp undressing themselves before using the bathroom.
  • Offer your child rewards. Mastering toilet training is a huge milestone for your child, so show it! Consider offering your child stickers, a piece of candy, or a special outing after successfully using the bathroom.
  • Inform your caregivers. Carefully explain the toilet training routine you have established with your child to caregivers. There’s nothing worse than confusing a child with contrasting advice from different individuals.

Trust your Parenting Skills

As with many areas in life, toilet training requires trial and error. Your child isn’t going to master this skill on the first try. Although you may be tempted to ask other parents how their process is going, keep in mind that every child is different. Do not feel pressured to use the advice of friends or family members. Sometimes it’s just best to trust your parental instincts during this process.

If your child is three years or older and has not been toilet trained, contact a pediatrician to help you determine what the problem is. The Winter Springs Pediatrician team at Family First Pediatrics puts your child’s health and well being as our main priority. Feel free to give us a call at (407) 335-4760 or schedule an appointment online to meet with Dr. Selsky.