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Toilet Training: Knowing When Your Child Is Ready

Overview

Your child must be both physically and emotionally ready for toilet training. Most children are ready to start when they are between 22 and 30 months of age, but every child is different. Toilet training usually becomes a long and frustrating process if you try to start it before your child is ready.

Before children can use the toilet, they must be able to control their bowel and bladder muscles. Some signs of this control are having bowel movements around the same time each day, not having bowel movements at night, and having a dry diaper after a nap or for at least 2 hours at a time. Children must also be able to remove clothing and climb onto the toilet, communicate, and have mastered other basic motor skills before they can use the toilet by themselves.

Most children are physically ready to toilet train before they are emotionally ready. Your child must want to use the toilet and be willing to cooperate with you. Your child may even talk about being a "big boy" or "big girl" and wearing underpants rather than diapers. Training often doesn't go well if your child is in the stage where "no" is their automatic response to every request.

At your child's 2-year regular checkup, the health professional will ask you about your child's progress in toilet training. This is a good opportunity to discuss any concerns you have about your child's readiness.

Credits

Current as of: September 20, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics