Signs Your Child is Ready to Potty Train

It can be difficult to recognize when your child is ready to begin potty training! You don’t want to start too soon, or too late. Here are some things to look out for so you can be ready when they are:

Physical signs your child is ready (and signs they may not be):

  • Is coordinated enough to walk, and even run, steadily.
  • Urinates a fair amount at one time.
  • Has regular, well-formed bowel movements at relatively predictable times.
  • Has “dry” periods of at least two hours or during naps, which shows that his bladder muscles are developed enough to hold urine.
  • Notifying you to change their diaper when soiled.

Behavioral signs your child is ready:

  • Can sit down quietly in one position for two to five minutes.
  • Can pull his pants up and down.
  • Dislikes the feeling of wearing a wet or dirty diaper.
  • Shows interest in others’ bathroom habits (wants to watch you go to the bathroom or wear underwear).
  • Gives a physical or verbal sign when he’s having a bowel movement such as grunting, squatting, or telling you.
  • Demonstrates a desire for independence.
  • Takes pride in his accomplishments.
  • Isn’t resistant to learning to use the toilet.
  • Is in a generally cooperative stage, not a negative or contrary one.

Cognitive signs your child is ready:

  • Understands the physical signals that mean he has to go and can tell you before it happens or even hold it until he has time to get to the potty.
  • Can follow simple instructions, such as “go get the toy.”
  • Understands the value of putting things where they belong.
  • Has words for urine and stool.

Here are some great books on potty training for parents:

  • Keys to Toilet Training by Meg Zweiback
  • Toilet Training: A Practical Guide to Daytime and Nighttime Training by Vicki Lanski
  • Guide to Toilet Training Book by American Academy of Pediatrics The Everything Guide to Potty Training Book by Kim Bookout

And for kids, too:

  • Potty by Leslie Patricelli
  • P is for Potty by Random House
  • The Potty Book for Girls by Alyssa Satin
  • Capucili Princess Potty by Samantha Berger
  • The Potty Book For Boys by Alyssa Satin Capucili