What Age Should You Start Potty Training?

What Age Should You Start Potty Training?

It’s a universal question asked by parents all over the world: what’s the right age to start potty training? As it stands, there is no right or wrong age, but there are some common guidelines which are well known. However, it’s still important for parents to understand that a guideline is only a recommendation and their child may start later or earlier.

Toilet Training Guide

What’s the Right Age to Start Potty Training?

The Plunket website states that on average, kids are ready to begin toilet training between 18 months and 4 years old. Others also give similar ages, with between two and four years being common guidelines.It’s important to realise that in order to successfully use a potty or toilet, a child also needs to be able to pull down their undies and trousers independently, wipe their bum, flush the toilet, hold on until they get to the potty and know when they need to wee or poo. But what we as parents should really be basing this decision on is whether or not our children are showing signs of readiness. So, let’s discuss those signs next.

Signs Your Child May Be Ready to Start Potty Training

There are quite a few signs your child can demonstrate to you around the time they are ready to begin potty training. These include:

  • Hiding to poo or wee
  • Pulling at a dirty nappy they are wearing
  • Staying dry over a nap during the day
  • Wanting to watch or are interested in finding out how people use the toilet
  • Can follow simple instructions
  • Asks to use a potty or the toilet
  • Changes their facial expression or makes a noise when they are about to wee or poo
  • Have regular and predictable bowel movements
  • A desire to do things for themselves

Remember these are only some of the most common signs of potty training readiness. Your child may not show some of these signs, but it doesn’t mean you can’t begin toilet training. Then again, even showing some readiness signs doesn’t mean that now is the right time to begin training.

Helpful Tips When Beginning Potty Training

Once you’ve decided that the time’s right to start toilet training, stop. First you need to do your research and get a few supplies together. This includes some undies that your little one will be excited to wear, a potty or toilet training seat and a reward chart to motivate your child to keep trying.
Then it’s time to start. Here are a few tips to get things off to a flying start:
  • Introduce the concept of potty training by reading books and introducing related vocabulary
  • Keep to a schedule, taking your child to the toilet every few hours. Set a timer if you need reminding!
  • Look out for cues that your child needs to go to the toilet and act quickly
  • Offer praise for trying, even if there are accidents
  • Expect to still wear a nappy over big naps and night time for a while
For more potty training advice, we’re here to help!


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