Is your little one ready? 3 signs based on evidence based research

Feb 26, 2021

Is your child ready for toilet training?

One of the questions that often frustrates parents, especially first-time parents, is how to know when their child is ready for toilet training. 

Unfortunately, our kids don't come with an instruction manual and buttons we can press to start a new program.

 That said, our human bodies are amazing, and your child will alert you when they are ready to take the vital step forward, or will they?

Sometimes our children will let us know when they are ready and sometimes toilet training needs to be initiated.  

Many signs will alert parents that their child's body and mind are developed enough for toilet training. 

The signs of readiness we discuss here can become your master checklist for the signs that most little ones show when they are ready.

There are milestones that children achieve as they progress, and most children are ready to be toilet trained between the ages of 2 to 3 years. 

That is on average, and what is important to remember at all times is that every child is unique and different. 

Yes, you can take the milestones into consideration, but your child's physical, emotional, and mental development, along with your therapist or parental instincts, will provide you with the best signs of readiness.


When Not To Train 

One aspect of toilet training that all therapists and parents should be aware of is that you have to choose the right time to start toilet training. 

Children are sensitive to what is happening around them even though they do not have the vocabulary to express this to their parents. 

When there is any emotional turmoil such as a newborn, moving house, or a parent starting a new job, it affects your little one. 

It's vital to be aware of the fact that it is not only negative emotions that affect your child but also positive emotions. 

They become overloaded when important events are coming up, such as a visit from grandparents, or everyone going on a holiday soon.

Regular routines in the family give children a great sense of security, and when this is disturbed, your little one will be emotionally very vulnerable. Please postpone your toilet training effort and implement it when everything in your child's life runs smoothly.


The 3 Signs That They Are Ready

Look for these signs and take note of each one, as everything your child does adds to the readiness factor. The more in sync you are with your child, the quicker you will gauge his or her readiness. 

  • Sign #1 - They Have Regular Bowel Movements Consistently

The next pattern to take note of is whether your child shows a pattern of consistently being dry for roughly two hours or longer. This is important, as this demonstrates that they have developed the ability to hold their pee for periods at a time.

  • Sign #2 - Shows Discomfort Being Wet

Watch your child and see if they show any signs of discomfort when they have a wet or soiled diaper. This will indicate that they are aware of the difference between being dry and wet.

  •  Sign #3 - The Ability to Pull Pants On and Off with Minimal Help

A show of readiness is when your child can pull down and pull up their pants or underwear with minimal help from another person.


There is a blurred line between forcing your child to toilet train when they are not developmentally ready and helping your child when you know they are clearly ready and capable. I would recommend encouraging toilet training only when they have shown at least one of the signs above. 

If they show none of the signs above, simply play fun toilet promoting activities and explore cool potty training books in the meantime specifically designed for potty training such as…

 The 3 Best Toilet Training Books

  1. The Holy Grail of Potty Training - by Tasha Powers
  2. Now I Know, How to Go Potty - by Tasha Powers
  3. How To Wipe Your Butt For Kids - by Tasha Powers

Are you a therapy professional? Check out my Toilet Training Success Academy that awards CEUs! 🥳



Wyndaele, J.J., Kaerts, N., Wyndaele, M., & Vermandel, A. (2020). Development Signs in Healthy Toddlers in Different Stages of Toilet Training: Can They Help Define Readiness and Probability of Success? Global Pediatric Health, 7, 1-6. 10.1177/2333794X20951086


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