How soon is too soon for potty training?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children don’t reach physical readiness for potty training until around 18 months, and may not start to show signs of emotional readiness until a while after that. These physical signs of readiness include the bladder control and the maturity of the digestive system that will let children ‘hold it’ for long enough to register that they need to go.

Most children, according to the AAP, are ready to start to try potty training around 18 to 24 months. Other groups, including the Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan Health System, suggest that most children aren’t ready to start the potty-training process until at least 2 years old. In any case, the guidelines are less important than Baby’s personal development, and there are a few signs that he might be ready to give the potty a try.

Signs of readiness

  • If Baby is starting to seem uncomfortable in diapers, and lets you know when he needs to be changed, or especially if he lets you know before he needs a change…
  • If Baby’s bladder capacity or control has grown enough that he is still dry at the end of a nap…
  • If he can follow basic directions from you or your partner…
  • If Baby is starting to be able to do some of the basic pieces of dressing themselves, like pulling his pants up and down…
  • If he likes to make you happy, and is willing to try new things or do things for your praise…
  • If he seems interested in what you and other family members do in the bathroom, is interested in ‘big kid underwear,’ or asks to try the potty…
…he might be ready for potty training!

Parental readiness

You may feel you’ve been ready for Baby to be potty trained since the first dirty diaper, but being ready doesn’t just mean being ready for Baby to have mastered potty training. It also means being ready for the days, weeks, and even months of Baby working to learn how. Like every new skill Baby masters, there are going to be times when he messes up. It can be helpful for everybody involved if you choose a time to start this potty training journey when you have a lot of time and energy to devote to it, but with a little patience, Baby will be using the potty on his own before you know it.


Sources
  • “It’s potty time!” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
  • “Cognitive and verbal skills needed for toilet training.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, March 17 2016. Web.
  • “Emotional growth needed for toilet training.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
  • “How to tell when your child is ready.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
  • “Stages of toilet trianing: Different skills, different schedules.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
  • “The right age to toilet train.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
  • Kyla Boise, Kate Fitzgerald. “Toilet training.” University of Michigan Health System. Regents of the University of Michigan, March 2010. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Potty training: How to get the job done.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, November 15 2014. Web.

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