Toilet Training - What Is Normal
It can be hard to know when to start toilet training. In general, a child must be both physically and
emotionally ready before
toilet training can be successful.
Children go through a toilet readiness
phase that won't be the same for every child. Watch for physical and emotional
signs that your child is ready to toilet train. Things going on in your family
affect your child during this phase. It is not advised to toilet train during a
time of family change, such as when there's a move, a new baby, or
When your child is ready to toilet train, the learning
phase can begin. During this time, provide opportunities to toilet train and
encourage your child.
A child is physically capable
of being toilet-trained when he or she develops muscle control over the bowel
and bladder. This rarely happens before 18 months of age.
basic signs that your child has bowel and bladder control include the
- Bowel movements occur on a regular, somewhat
- Bowel movements do not occur during the
- Diapers frequently are dry after waking from a nap or for at
least 2 hours at a time.
- Facial expressions, grunting, or squatting
show an awareness that he or she is passing urine or stool.
Your child must also be able to climb and remove
clothing. And he or she must be able to talk enough to communicate with you
about the need to use the toilet.
Your child may be physically
ready to toilet train after 18 months of age. But emotional readiness may take
more time. Your child must want to use the toilet. And he or she must be
willing to cooperate with you during the toilet-training process. For example,
training typically does not go well if your child is in the stage where "no" is
his or her automatic response to every request.
Your child shows
emotional readiness for toilet training in several ways. He or she may:
- Tell you when his or her diaper is dirty and
ask to have it changed.
- Be eager to please and able to follow
- Tell you that he or she wants to use the toilet
or wear underwear instead of diapers.
- Like to be neat and tidy.
Many children go through a period where they like being clean and
- Act interested when other family members use the
Be careful of getting too excited about your child's
readiness after he or she shows one or two of these signs. A child may be
excited about using the potty, only to lose interest very quickly.
Delays in toilet training
It is normal for your
child to be doing well with toilet training and to suddenly begin having
problems. For example, he or she may try to "hold it" for long periods or want
to wear diapers again. This does not mean your efforts have failed. But it does
mean that you need to ease up on the training for a little while.