Parent Resources Billing InformationHealth LibraryNew Parent ResourcesChoosing a PediatricianInterviewing a PediatricianWhat to Pack in Your Hospital BagNewborn Well Child ScheduleNew Patient Forms Toilet Training / Potty Training Toilet training (known as potty training to many) is a major stage in a child’s – and parent’s! – life. But while this accomplishment may be one of the proudest for your little one, it’s definitely not the easiest. How do I know if my child is ready for toilet training? You may hear a lot of advice from friends and family about potty training: “If your little one isn’t potty trained by two, they’re behind.” “Girls always toilet train fast than boys.” While this input is certainly well-meaning, it isn’t necessarily based on developmental science or medical expertise. In reality, there is no “perfect age” for your child to begin toilet training, and every child is different. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that most children become physiologically ready – meaning that their body is developed enough to delay using the bathroom – for toilet training at about 18 months. It's important to remember that even when a child has mastered toilet training during the day, staying dry all night may take more time. Even when most children are physiologically ready for toilet training, they aren’t usually cognitively ready, meaning that they can’t yet associate the feeling of needing to use the restroom with the actual training toilet. This stage of development usually happens sometime after they’ve turned two. Aside from physiological and cognitive development, children need to have the motor skills to be able to reach the restroom in time and be able to sit on the toilet as long as needed to use it. They also need to develop psychological and social skills to understand that using the restroom privately is something everyone does, and that if they feel the need to use the restroom, to tell an adult. Signs of readiness to toilet train include: Emotional/Intellectual: Tries to imitate your behavior or the behavior of older siblings Is able to make some decisions independently (like choosing between options or telling you what they want or need), including being able to answer "yes" or "no" to questions Shows an interest and effort to delay using the restroom until near the toilet Is able to tell you when they need to go to the bathroom, and when they are in the process of going Is able to follow verbal directions that have mutliple steps Physical: Is big/tall enough to sit securely on the training toilet seat or regular toilet seat Is able to stay dry for several hours Can pull clothes up and down, walk to the bathroom, and sit on the toilet by him/herself Underscoring all of these general points, however, is the most important piece of advice for any parent concerned about potty training: talk to your child’s pediatrician. They can advise you on your child’s specific stage of development and give you tips on how to begin toilet training. Your Role as a Parent in the Potty Training Process Learning to use the toilet is a big stage in a child’s development. Once your child has shown his or her readiness to potty train, your role as a parent shifts to support, praise and encouragement. Try to associate the process of potty training with support, never with punishment or pressure. It’s important for parents to be responsive when their child may be showing signs of needing to use the restroom, but not deprive their child of the opportunity to identify the need themselves and use the potty on their own. Praise your child when they successfully use the toilet or make an attempt to do so. Remember that even when your child masters potty training in the daytime, you may still need to prepare for nighttime accidents. Most importantly, be patient; it will take time for your child to learn this new ritual of growing up. If your child has been successfully using the toilet for six months or longer, but has recently begun wetting again, call your pediatrician.