When to Start Potty Training

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Published On
02 Jan, 2024
Read Time
3 minutes

If you’re the parent of a toddler, you're probably wondering when the right time is to start potty training. It's a common question that lots of parents ask themselves, and the answer varies depending on your child's age, temperament, and readiness.

In this post, we'll discuss the signs that indicate your child is ready for potty training and how long it typically takes to master this essential life skill. Whether you're a first-time parent or have gone potty trained a toddler before, this post will give you valuable insights and tips to make the experience as stress-free and successful as possible.

What age do you start potty training?

The answer to this question varies a lot, and the truth is that there’s no ‘perfect’ time to begin toilet training. Every child will become ready at their own pace, but many parents start training their toddler from around two or two and a half years old.

Children younger than 12 months old typically have no bladder or bowel control. Between 12 and 18 months they have very little control, and usually children can control their bowels before their bladder.

Most children won’t have full bowel and bladder control until around 24 to 30 months, and boys often start later than girls and it can take them longer to learn how to move on from nappies.

Don’t worry if your little one does start potty training a little later than their peers, this may just mean that they’ll learn this new life skill faster and have fewer ‘accidents’ along the way.

Signs your child is ready to start potty training

You can look out for the following signs to know if your toddler is ready to begin potty training. The more or these signs you spot, the quicker your little one should be able to learn how to use the potty.

Do they…

  • know and tell you that they have a wet or dirty nappy?
  • tell you that they’re having a wee and/or let you know they’re going to have a wee before it happens?
  • fidget or hide when they need a wee?

Can they…

  • go at least one hour without having a wet nappy?
  • sit on the potty long enough to do a wee or poo and can follow your instructions?
  • pull their pants up and down on their own?

How to prepare children for potty training

Potty training is an important milestone in a child's development and requires patience, persistence, and a lot of preparation. It's essential to prepare your child well in advance to ensure a successful and stress-free potty training experience.

Top tips for potty training journey success

  1. Talk to your child when changing their nappy to help them understand the concepts of wee and poo. It’s important that they feel comfortable and learn that it’s a natural thing that we all do.
  2. If you can, change their nappies in the bathroom so that they feel comfortable in there.
  3. Get a potty or a toilet training seat and step, and explain what they’re for to normalise them.
  4. Explain how the potty is used and build a positive association with it. If you have an older child, it can help to let the younger one learn from them.
  5. Read your toddler books about potty training.
  6. Set realistic expectations and don’t worry if your toddler has little accidents along the way, it’s all part of the learning journey.

How long does potty training take?

It usually takes three to six months to potty train, but each child is different and yours will take it at their own pace.

They’ll still have accidents every now and then, and some children can go through relapse phases of wetting themselves or wetting the bed after they’re fully potty trained. If this does happen, it’s important to stay patient and remember to praise them whenever they make progress.

Want more toddler toilet time tips? Head to our dedicated blog post on potty training.