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Many parents are unsure about when to start toilet teaching or "potty training.

" Not all kids are
ready at the same age, so it's important to watch your child for signs of readiness, such as
stopping an activity for a few seconds or clutching his or her diaper.

Most children begin to show these signs between 18 and 24 months, although some may be
ready earlier or later than that. And boys often start later and take longer to learn to use the potty
than girls.

Instead of using age as a readiness indicator, look for other signs that your child may be ready to
start heading for the potty, such as the ability to:

 follow simple instructions

 understand words about the toileting process

 control the muscles responsible for elimination

 verbally express a need to go

 keep a diaper dry for 2 hours or more

 get to the potty, sit on it, and then get off the potty

 pull down diapers, disposable training pants, or underpants

 show an interest in using the potty or wearing underpants

About Timing

There are some stressful or difficult times when you may want to put off starting the toilet-
teaching process — when traveling, around the birth of a sibling, changing from the crib to the
bed, moving to a new house, or when your child is sick (especially if diarrhea is a factor). It may
be better to postpone it until your child's environment is stable and secure.

Also, while some experts recommend starting the process during summer because kids wear less
clothing, but it is not a good idea to wait if your child is ready.

When your child shows signs of readiness, and not before.

Healthy children aren't physically and emotionally ready to start using a potty until they are
between 18 months and three years old. Boys tend to be ready a few months later than girls.

Most parents start the training when their children are between two years and three years old.

Is it time? . However. It's better to wait until your child is ready. and where she must do it. That's why waiting for signs that they are ready is the key to success. and even suggest that children who have been trained in this way have problems later on. A child under two years cannot control when they wee and poo. This is done by watching for signs of an imminent wee or poo and catching it in the potty. They may experience setbacks with using school toilets. as it means that she knows:  how and when to use the toilet  how to hang on until she reaches the toilet  how to flush  how to pull her clothes up and down  how to wipe her bottom without your help All of this doesn't happen in most children until the age of about three years or four years. or how you go about it. By Mayo Clinic Staf Potty training is a big step for kids and parents alike. This method is called elimination communication. most health visitors don't advise this. or when they encounter stressful situations. This is regardless of when you start potty training. as long as you make it clear to her what she has to do. and is showing an interest. The muscles that control their bladder and rectum aren't mature until they reach about 18 months to two years. True independence is a lot to ask of a baby. Some parents start potty training when their babies are younger than four months. Get the facts on timing. Potty training: How to get the job done Potty training is a major milestone. The secret to success? Timing and patience. or if she is not ready to start. Your child may copy others without needing any instructions.But there's no official age. and starting too early will result in accidents. You shouldn't force your child to use a potty if she doesn't want to. technique and handling the inevitable accidents. and you needn't potty train your toddler at all if you don't want to.

Start by maintaining a positive attitude — and recruiting all of your child's caregivers to do the same. set your child up for success. Schedule potty breaks . your child might be ready for potty training. facial expressions or posture when he or she needs to go?  Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day?  Does your child complain about wet or dirty diapers?  Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?  Can your child sit on and rise from a potty chair? If you answered mostly yes. If you answered mostly no. you might want to wait — especially if your child has recently faced or is about to face a major change. Is your child ready? Ask yourself these questions:  Does your child seem interested in the potty chair or toilet. it might take longer to train your child. Pull out the equipment Place a potty chair in the bathroom or. Encourage your child to sit on the potty chair — with or without a diaper. or let your child see family members using the toilet. Then follow these steps. You might dump the contents of a dirty diaper into the potty chair to show its purpose. Help your child understand how to talk about the bathroom using simple. If you start potty training too early. Ready. Make sure your child's feet rest firmly on the floor or a stool. go! When you decide it's time to begin potty training. such as a move or the arrival of a new sibling. not a specific age. correct terms. initially.Potty-training success hinges on physical and emotional readiness. set. A toddler who opposes potty training today might be open to the idea in a few months. Many kids show interest in potty training by age 2. Have your child decorate the chair. or in wearing underwear?  Can your child understand and follow basic directions?  Does your child tell you through words. wherever your child is spending most of his or her time. but others might not be ready until age 2 1/2 or even older — and there's no rush.

Nap and nighttime training might take months — or years — longer. such as. Make sure your child washes his or her hands afterward. Reinforce your child's effort with verbal praise. stop what he or she is doing.If your child is interested. Help your child become familiar with these signals. Even if your child simply sits there. and then move to standing up after bowel training is complete. squatting or holding the genital area — respond quickly. Ditch the diapers After several weeks of successful potty breaks. belts. leotards or other items that could hinder undressing. Know when to call it quits . Celebrate this transition. In the meantime. Sleep soundly Most children master daytime bladder control first. often within about two to three months of consistent toilet training. Once your child is wearing training pants or regular underwear. let your child do the honors. and head to the toilet. For others. it's often best to master urination sitting down. Go on a special outing. have him or her sit on the potty chair or toilet without a diaper for a few minutes several times a day. offer praise for trying — and remind your child that he or she can try again later. Consider incentives Some kids respond to stickers or stars on a chart. use disposable training pants or mattress covers when your child sleeps. Get there — Fast! When you notice signs that your child might need to use the toilet — such as squirming. Stay with your child when he or she is in the bathroom. avoid overalls. For boys. try to bring the potty chair or a portable potty with you when you're away from home with your child. your child might be ready to trade diapers for training pants or underwear. "How exciting! You're learning to use the toilet just like big kids do!" Be positive even if a trip to the toilet isn't successful. trips to the park or extra bedtime stories are effective. Teach girls to wipe carefully from front to back to prevent bringing germs from the rectum to the vagina or bladder. Praise your child for telling you when he or she has to go. To maintain consistency. Let your child pick out his or her underwear. Read a potty-training book or give your child a toy to use while sitting on the potty chair or toilet. When it's time to flush.

such as first thing in the morning.If your child resists using the potty chair or toilet or isn't getting the hang of it within a few weeks. don't scold. If your child has an accident."  Be prepared. When to seek help Occasional accidents are harmless. Keep a change of underwear and clothing handy. You might say. Point out telltale signs of holding it. but expect occasional accidents and near misses. and before getting in the car or going to bed. Sometimes wetting problems indicate an underlying physical condition. such as a urinary tract infection or an overactive bladder. especially at school or in child care. Kids don't have accidents to irritate their parents. such as holding the genital area. Next time you'll get to the bathroom sooner. absorbent underwear might be best. but they can lead to teasing. Chances are he or she isn't ready yet. Accidents will happen You might breathe easier once your child figures out how to use the toilet. If your potty-trained child reverts or loses ground — especially at age 4 or older — or you're concerned about your child's accidents. discipline or shame your child. To fight this phenomenon. contact his or her doctor. Accidents often happen when kids are absorbed in activities that — for the moment — are more interesting than using the toilet. suggest regular bathroom trips. "You forgot this time. If your child has frequent accidents. Here's help preventing — and handling — wet pants:  Offer reminders. Prompt treatment can help your child become accident-free. Try again in a few months. after each meal and snack. embarrassment and alienation from peers. take a break.  Stay calm. .

3 or even 4 years. where children may wear diapers for 2. all rights reserved What is the right potty training age? The answer depends on you.The timing of toilet training: What's the best potty training age? © 2006-2015 Gwen Dewar. . babies learn basic toilet training skills before they can walk. The situation is very different in the United States. African-American parents believe that toilet training should begin around 18 months. Without being punished or abused. toilet training begins early--sometimes within weeks of birth. According to a recent study. on average (Horn et al 2006). your goals. And they never wear diapers. and the characteristics of your child. Caucasian-American parents believe that training should start even later--after 25 months. Here I cover  What the scientific evidence says about the timing of potty training  Infant potty training (0-12 months)  Older infant/ young toddler training (12-18 months)  Older toddlers (18-24 months)  Potty training after 24 months Overview In many parts of the world.

coercive methods. Children who don't begin training until after the age of 24 months may not reach this milestone until their third birthdays (Duong et al 2013). In a recent study. When parents use gentle. Bakker and Wyndaele 2000. There is also evidence that early trainees are at lower risk for developing problems with incontinence later in life. In past generations. It’s a trend observed in Europe. many kids don’t master basic toilet training skills until they are almost 3 years old. This suggests that an earlier potty training age is better. In the rest of this article. Today. Horstmanshoff et al 2003). It’s therefore surprising to discover that these worries are misplaced. giardia and rotavirus. Their parents save money and time on diapering. early training is safe." Many people assume that early training means using harsh. But many parents worry that early training can be harmful. too (Largo et al 1996. is that people confuse “when to train" with “how to train. earlier training may be beneficial. Should you follow—or buck—this trend? Potty-trained children avoid diaper rash and diaper-related infections—like yeast. Besides avoiding diaper rash and diaper-born infections. I compare the advantages and disadvantages associated with training four different potty training age groups:  Infants (0-12 months) . more than half the children over 32 months failed to stay dry during the day (Schum et al 2002). read my article on what scientific studies tell us about the timing of potty training.eliminating any residual urine that can harbor bacteria.These attitudes are new. most American children were out of diapers by 18 months (Martin et al 1984). Nevertheless. kids are taking longer and longer to learn toileting skills. age-appropriate methods. and have more flexibility when searching for preschools. It does not. young children who were trained in infancy are less likely to suffer recurrent urinary tract infections. Since the Second World War. They’ve heard potty “experts" warn that early training causes behavioral problems or personality disorders. In fact. That's likely because they learn to empty their bladders completely -. early training isn’t right for everyone. I suspect. For the details. there is no scientific evidence that an early potty training age harms children. Why does early training have a bad rap? One reason. The timing of potty training: What the scientific evidence says Despite what you might have heard about behavioral problems or Freudian personality disorders.

or the open ground. the parental sign becomes an invitation to void. the smell of a child’s urine and feces is less objectionable to most people. parents learn to recognize their babies’ body signals and to use these signals to anticipate when their babies eliminate. bowl.staying dry with parental supervision. toilet. If you wait until a later potty training age. And at this early potty training age. To the degree that babies avoid diapers. When the infant is ready to go. cleaning up accidents will be more unpleasant. But such early training has its benefits. the parent makes a characteristic sound or gesture. Babies aren’t used to wearing diapers. As the infant voids. When the baby feels the urge to go. so they don’t have as many habits to break. eventually.  Young toddlers (12-18 months)  Older toddlers (18 months and up)  Preschoolers (27 months and beyond) Infant potty training: 0-12 months It sounds bizarre to many Westerners." This isn’t what many people mean by “toilet training. he learns to hold back for a brief time until his parent gives him the “all clear. Parents also avoid some of the problems associated with training older children. the traditional potty training age is early infancy. But for parents in places like India. and." Babies obviously can’t walk or flush or wipe themselves. In these societies. so infant toilet training is necessarily a more modest affair-. The baby learns to associate this parental sign with voiding. the parent holds him over a sink. Boucke 2002). and East Africa (deVries and deVries 1977. China. they avoid diaper rash and diaper-associated infections. When exactly does training start? .

Once babies discover mobility. However. like older children. Choosing the right potty training age for older infants and young toddlers (12-18 months) In 1920s and 1930s. It’s possible to start later. . have become accustomed to wearing diapers and ignoring their body signals (Boucke 2003). when babies pee less frequently and can sit up on their own. Learn more about a chair-based training method here. this could be a difficult potty training age. children learning to walk may be too excited to sit still on a potty chair (Brazelton and Sparrow 2004). too--between 6-12 months. For one thing. older babies and toddlers may find it hard to break the diaper habit. depending on your child’s personality and developmental schedule. European and American parents often began training between 12-18 months (Bakker and Wyndaele 2000). In one study. For another. However.Traditionally. they are less patient about sitting still on a potty chair. However. Once a baby can sit up--straight and steady--you can train her on a potty chair. some advocates recommend a somewhat later potty training age (3-6 months). toilet training veterans say infant training can be more difficult if your baby has learned to crawl or is learning to walk. And one writer suggests that older babies. infant potty training begins during the first three months after birth (Boucke 2003). children aged 15-19 months were more resistant to sitting on potty chairs than were younger and older children (Sears et al 1957).

However. You can make potty training easier if you actively prepare your child months in advance. and the ability to stay dry for two hours at a time. your child will be less competent than an . you must work up to this goal gradually (Bakker 2002). Many of these signs require pretty advanced developmental skills--hence their association with an older potty training age. They also include new attitudes. If you decide to wait until a later potty training age. Who would want to train a child who isn’t ready? The trouble lies with definitions of readiness. Potty training after 18 months: Should you wait for signs of "toilet readiness?" According to many potty training guides (American Academy of Pediatrics 2006). Find tips on potty training preparation here. Does your child need to walk to use a potty? Does your child need to express an interest in underwear? The answer depends on your goal. you can try the infant potty-chair method. like “your child says he wants to do things for himself. A variety of diagnostic signs have been proposed. And keep realistic goals." But even if your goal is complete toilet independence. This potty training age is about staying dry with careful parental supervision. the ability to follow verbal commands. If your goal is for your child to walk into the bathroom and sit on the potty by herself. back off and try later. there is nothing sacred about this potty training age-range. you can still put this time to good use. If your child resists. most children are not ready to begin training until 18-24 months. No matter when or how you train.But this potty training age has its advantages. The interval between 12-18 months is the perfect time to start thinking about toilet readiness--a set of skills and interests that will help your child master advanced toilet skills later on (see below)." and “your child tells you he wants to wear grow-up underwear. The recommendation that you start after 18 months is based on the idea that children should show signs of “toilet readiness" before you ask them to use the potty. But if you’re interested in the more modest goals of infant-toddler training. Children under 18 months are often eager to please adults--a trait that older kids may lack (think of the “terrible twos. you don’t need to wait for signs of advanced “readiness. then you obviously should wait until she can walk.") If you’re interested. Proposed signs include developmental milestones--like walking." Waiting until your child is ready sounds reasonable.

it’s probably not good idea to wait passively for your child to exhibit the Bakker et al 2002). Regardless of your long-term goals. Bakker 2002. For more information. McKeith 1973. One recent study (tracking over 265 kids of potty training age for 12 months or more) found that children did not show many signs until after their second year (Schum et al 2002). Sears et al 2002). And an earlier start can bring many benefits. passive waiting does nothing to help your child get ready. For instance. Other research suggests that an earlier training helps to protect kids from developing bladder problems later in life (Barone et al 2009. Meanwhile. it can lead to late training--a problem if you prefer an earlier potty training age. you’ll see that many--if not most--signs can be encouraged or taught. including reduced rates of diaper rash. there hasn’t been much research on this subject. With the right kind of preparation. you may help your child reach potty training age earlier. “Staying dry for over 2 hours" took more than 26 months for half the children. Summing up: How does timing matter? Based on current evidence. More importantly. it makes sense to prepare your child for training (Canadian Pediatric Society 2000. Potty training after 24 months: Is it better to wait? For many American children today. “potty training age" means 24 months or beyond. see my article on what scientific studies tell us about the timing of potty training. One study reported that an earlier potty training age--starting between 18-24 months--was associated with longer total training times overall (Schum et al 2002). urinary tract . an early potty training age does not lead to behavioral problems. Is this a good thing? Unfortunately. Bakker 2002). most children did not show an interest in using the potty until after 24 months. If you review the official checklists. Most fully-trained children aren’t ready to go to the bathroom unattended until 36 months or later (Gesell and Ilg 1943. and most kids couldn’t pull down their own underwear until they were over 29 months old (Schum et al 2002). Schmidt 2004. For one thing.

it’s a good idea to pick an earlier potty training age (Bakker 2002). Yeung et al 1985) This means that earlier training requires more adult supervision. The training process itself may also take longer (Blum et al 2003). and stool toileting refusal. like a move or new baby). they  have learned to ignore body signals and must relearn them  have become used to wearing soiled diapers and may resist change  are more independent and more likely to test your authority  have more odiferous urine.infections. And for the youngest children. It’s also important to match your toilet training goals to your child’s abilities. for example)  relaxed (not stressed by new changes. younger children  have fewer motor skills. older children have spent more of their lives wearing diapers. Timing has profound implications for your goals and methods. As a result. experts agree that you should wait until your child is  healthy (no diarrhea or constipation. making their accidents less pleasant to clean A late starting age might also put kids at an increased risk for developing problems with incontinence and infections (Barone et al 2009. and  have more frequent bladder voidings (Gladh et al 2000. On the one hand. Bakker et al 2002) The takeaway? If your child suffers from any urinary tract disorders (including incomplete emptying of the bladder and urinary tract infections).  cooperative (not going through a rebellious phase) . But this does not mean that a child’s age has no effect on the training process. Otherwise. You can’t expect a baby to walk to a potty chair and remove her pants! On the other hand. Bakker 2002.  are less able to articulate their needs. early training means basic training only.

Cambridge. 2002. References: Choosing the right potty training age American Academy of Pediatrics. Wyndaele JJ. 90: 456-461. Belgium. Schneider D. van Sprundel M. 5: 333-5. 2006). 60: 170-177. deVries MW and deVries MR. British Journal of Urology. 2009. Bakker E. Infant Potty Basics. Pediatrics. MA: deCapo Press. 2000. Unpublished MD dissertation. Toilet learning: Anticipatory guidances with a child-oriented approach. For others. van der Auwera JC. the convenience of diapers overrides the potential drawbacks. 2006. Paediatrics and Child Heath. 2004. Toilet training the Brazelton way. Lafayette. CO: White-Boucke Publishing. (visited November 24. your choice of timing (as opposed to method) is unlikely to cause any long-lasting behavior problems. Bakker E. 111: 810-814. Toilet training readiness American Academy of Pediatrics website. Research into the influence of potty training on lower urinary tract dysfunction. J Pediatr Urol. van Gool JD. 5(6):458-61. getting rid of diapers--and potentially reducing the risk of urinary tract problems--is worth the trouble of an earlier potty training age. Jasutkar N. Canadian Pediatric Society. Bakker W. 2003. Barone JG. and Nemeth N. Changes in the toilet training of children during the last 60 years: the cause of an increase in lower urinary tract dysfunction? British journal of Urology. 2000. 86(3):248-52. Cultural relativity of toilet training readiness: A perspective from East Africa. Pediatrics. Taubman B. . Blum NJ. For some parents. Later toilet training is associated with urge incontinence in children. University of Antwerp. 1977. Department of urology. Results of a quaestionaire evaluating the effects of different methods of toilet training on achieving bladder control. 2003. Boucke L. and Wyndaele JJ. Brazelton TB and Sparrow JD. 2002.Beyond this. Relationship between age at initiation of toilet training and duration of training: A prospective study.

RL and Lewis M. 38: 1106-16. Schum TR. Gladh G. von Siebenthal K. Pediatrics.: Row. Child Dev Med. Persson D Mattsson S and Lindstrom S. and Wolfensberger U. Toilet training: Getting it right the first time. 2002.. Holmdahl G. Ill. 2002. Benninga MA. Toilet training and toileting refusal for stool only: A prospective study. Martin JA. Rao M. 1957. and Cheng TL. Verwijs W. 149: 165- 168. Sillén U. Infant and child in the culture of today: The guidance of development in home and nursery school. Molinari L. How children become dry. Taubman B. . 99: 54-58. and Waelkens JJ. Contemporary Pediatrics. Kolb TM. Hellström AL. 1943.[Bladder control in 1-4 year old children in the the Eindhoven and Kempen region (The Netherlands) in 1996 and 1966] Largo RH. New York: Harper and Brothers. Horn IB. J Pediatr Urol. Does a profound change in toilet-training affect development of bowel and bladder control? Dev Med Child Neurol. King DR. Peterson and Company. Brown and Company. 1984. 9(6 Pt A):700-6. Sequential acquisition of toilet-training skills: A descriptive study of gender and age differences in normal children. Pediatrics 109: 48-54. Neurourology and urodynamics. and Jaklin CN.Duong TH. 19: 177-184. Sears RR. MD. 1997. Underhill. McAuliffe TL. Evanston. Horstmanshoff BE. 48/49: 3-32. 2004. Boston. Voiding pattern in healthy newborns. Sears M and Watts Kelly C. Secular trends and individual differences in toilet-training progress. MA Little. McKeith R. Regterschot GJ. Maccoby EE. Patterns of childrearing. Journal of Pediatric Psychology 9: 457-468. Nieuwenhuis EE. 2003. 1973. Urinary bladder control during the first 3 years of life in healthy children in Vietnam--a comparison study with Swedish children. 2000. Maccoby EE. 1996. 21: 105-119. You can go to the potty. 2006. and Levin H. Beliefs about the appropriate age for initiating toilet training: Are their racial and socioeconomic differences? Journal of Pediatrics. 2013. Jansson UB. Schmidt BA. Simms. Sears W. Brenner R. Gesell A and Ilg FL.

British Journal of Urology. One-year-olds were placed on the potty after meals. For that time frame. with the expectation for being potty trained ranging from 12 months for some tribes in Africa[1] to 36 months in the modern United States. Li AK. is the process of training a young child to use the toilet for urination and defecation. agreement and understanding between the child and the caregiver. and held there until they eliminated. Godley ML. and it usually takes boys longer to learn to stay dry throughout the night. The vast majority of studies concentrate on children 18 months old and older. and even strapping the child to the potty were used to make sure she eliminated before leaving . I had every one of my kids trained by eighteen months.” Wouldn’t you like to have a nickel for every time you’ve heard a comment like this? Chances are that if you have been subject to such remarks. and they never even wet the bed after that. It is easy for adults with grown children to forget the many accidents and regressions that almost certainly followed such early training. CK. CK. though training may start with a smaller toilet bowl-shaped device (often known as a potty). It is also true that toilet training was defined differently back then compared to how we view it now. Duffy PG. 1995. Some new insights into bladder function in infancy. Cultural factors play a large part in what age is deemed appropriate. 76:235-40. Ho. boys typically start and finish later than girls. Chen CN. they came from a member of an older generation who parented at a time when early training was popular. Toilet training. such ill-advised methods as enemas.Yeung. Ransley PG. In some cases. and the best potty training techniques emphasize consistency and positive reinforcement over punishment – making it enjoyable for the child. for instance. requiring cooperation. research suggests that children over 24 months train faster and girls train slightly faster than boys The Right Age to Toilet Train “Susan’s nearly three and still in diapers? Hmmm. or potty training.[vague][3] Most people advise that toilet training is a mutual task. physical punishment.[2] Most children can control their bowel before their bladder. however it depends on the maturity and consistency of the particular child. shaming.

emotional. may start to expand quickly only at age two or three. three. unfortunately. The other skills that a fully toilet-trained child must acquire—the ability to recognize her own need to use the bathroom. physically placing the child on the potty. and the ability to manage any bathroom related fears are all part of emotional readiness. or four. Her verbal abilities. success still depended on the adult’s noting that it was time for potty use. Such procedures are based on conditioning rather than real learning—more like housebreaking a pet than helping a child achieve self-mastery. which enable her to learn through conversation and instruction and to express any fears or anxieties that arise. Children younger than twelve months not only are unlikely to be ready in terms of bladder and bowel control. and they may not occur until age two. children are traditionally placed on the potty after a feeding from infancy onward—and if the child happens to urinate or defecate while she’s held there. who had to clean many cloth diapers daily. One reason why toilet training was usually initiated during the first year in the United States until recently is that it reduced the workload of the caregiver. and keeping her there until she eliminated. initiating training before eighteen months is unlikely to do any damage as long as your expectations for your child’s performance are realistic and no punishment or abuse is involved. but may not yet have the physical skills needed to get to the potty and remove their clothing in time. desires. Generally speaking. While the one-year-old may have eventually learned to connect sitting on the potty with urinating or passing stool. she is praised.the bathroom. a positive attitude toward the training process. But child-development experts now believe that toilet training works best for most families if it can be delayed until the child is ready to control much of the process herself. In Finland and other northern European countries. In many African and South American cultures. lower her pants. Even the social awareness that motivates some children to imitate their . and sit long enough to achieve success—depend on cognitive. and cultural attitudes than on a typical child’s readiness to control her bodily functions. mothers “train” their babies from birth by positioning them over whatever place they wish them to eliminate into the moment they sense that the child is about to void. The truth is that most popular assumptions about the best age to toilet-train—in this and most other countries—depend more on the adults’ needs. depend on a child-care facility or preschool that enforces a no-diapers rule. and physiological developments that usually emerge only after about age eighteen to twenty-four months. or may come and go as your child grows. There’s also the question of emotional readiness: The desire to use a potty. where mothers and babies stay in almost constant physical contact and babies don’t wear diapers. wait until she gets to a toilet. Toilet training this early is still common among families for whom disposable diapers or a diaper service is a major expense or who must.

siblings’ or playmates’ bathroom use increases steadily through the toddler years and into preschool. In general. Still. looking for them in your child. the easier and quicker the process is likely to be since your child will have become more self-sufficient. it’s best to avoid assuming that your child will begin training by a certain age. social. consider taking the readiness approach—reading about the telltale signs of readiness. the longer you wait before beginning toilet training. when you have time off work. and cognitive skills to begin training. . You or other members of your family may also find that you yourselves are better able to manage the training process at one time than at another —a period when you are not feeling particularly stressed. even toddlers can learn to use the potty quite easily during periods when their natural negativity has abated somewhat and they are highly motivated to learn. Since the fluctuations of a child’s development and her family’s situation are impossible to predict. or when you foresee no major changes at home. Instead. and you are the best judge of when your child has acquired enough of the necessary physical. Each of these aspects of development occurs at different times for different children. emotional. regardless of your child’s age. and only then beginning training.