Potty Training, how do I know when my child is ready?

ready for potty training

Potty training time, yeah!!!! No more nappies means we save time and money.

But it can be tricky figuring out if your child is ready to start the process. Potty training is not something you can rush into or attempt  before your child is ready.


Read more on what to expect when you start potty training here.

These are some of the signs that your toddler may be ready to start potty training.

  • Pulling at their wet/dirty nappy. When their nappy starts to bother them after they have made a wee or a poo it means they are aware of what is happening. They may want you to remove the nappy immediately.
  • They are able to pull their pants up and down. This is also a motor skill they need to potty train. 
  • Your toddler starts taking an interest in other’s toilet habits. They will want to go with you to the toilet, see what you are doing.
  • They will express an interest in wearing underpants.
  • Their bowel movements are predictable.
  • Your child will start to verbalise their readiness, for example they are able to tell you they want to wee or while they are doing it (in their nappy) they share with you what they are doing.
  • They will feel very proud of their “accomplishments” once they have finished.
  • Cognitively they should be able to follow a simple instruction and is able to tell you when he needs to go before it is too late.


Have realistic expectations

Remember that these signs do not mean that the end of your nappy-changing days are in sight. It will still take some time for your child to get used to the idea of using the toilet. Some children struggle with the idea of using a toilet, they may want to but once placed on the toilet, they are anxious and uncomfortable. Many will forget while playing that they need to go and, by the time they do realise it is too late.

Be patient with your child, start slowly and follow their lead. Children all achieve their milestones in their own time. You may see some of these signs from around 18 months to two years, but potty training success may only come a lot later. 



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Christine Klynhans is a midwife and lactation consultant with a firm believe that gentle parenting can change the world. She has worked in midwifery since competing her B.Cur nursing degree in 2004, and has a special passion for education and for writing. She currently works in a well-baby clinic and give antenatal classes and breastfeeding support. She enjoys working with parents of babies and toddlers, aiming to help them find gentle solutions to their parenting problems and assisting them in incorporating healthy habits and natural health alternatives into their daily lives.

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