Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Toilet Training: Knowing When Your Child Is Ready
It can be difficult to know exactly when and how to go about
toilet training. Although your child should show signs
of physical readiness, such as letting you know when he or she has had a bowel
movement, and emotional readiness, such as wanting to wear underpants, there
usually is not a dramatic moment that clearly indicates your child is
Mixed messages from health professionals, parents, and friends and
past experiences with other children may all contribute to this confusion.
Specific timing varies by child; try not to compare your child to others or
take stories too seriously about how early your parents or in-laws trained
Your best strategy is to closely watch your child and look for the
physical and emotional signs of readiness for toilet training. You can provide
the equipment (such as a potty chair or attachment to a standard toilet),
discuss the process, and talk to your child positively about the benefits of
using the toilet. Consider your child's temperament and disposition in your
approach. As you begin to understand and are sensitive to your child's
reactions, you will gradually gain a sense of exactly when and how to gently
encourage your child, and when to back off. Patience, perseverance, and
respecting your child's abilities are all important for helping him or her to
be toilet trained.
March 18, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.