When to start potty-training?

If you start potty-training before your child is biologically and emotionally ready, you're both going to become frustrated and upset. It will also drag out the process because it's likely to turn into a battle of wills, a battle that parents never win. Most children become potty trained between 18 and 30 months.

Read the signs

If you look closely, your child will tell you with her behaviour that she's probably ready to begin.

  • Does she have bowel movements at a fairly predictable time? Does she let you know through words or behaviour that she's aware that she's having one?

  • Can she pull down and pull up her pants?

  • Does she show an interest in the bathroom and what other people do in it?

  • Can she walk over to and sit down on the potty by herself?

  • Has she started saying 'No!' to you? Does she like to have at least some of her toys in certain special places? This shows that she's interested in controlling things in her environment.

  • Does she know what 'wet' and 'dry' mean?

  • Does she respond to praise and want to please you?

If your answer is 'yes' to most of these questions, she may be ready to begin. Postpone potty-training if your child is stressed. If it doesn't seem to be working, take a break and try again in a few weeks or months. It will happen – just give it time.

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