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When to Start Potty Training

2 years ago4 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

Deciding when to potty train is a big deal for us parents, and our little ones, so it’s important to get the timing right. Starting potty training too early can lead to the whole process taking much longer than necessary, and risking later regressions. So it’s certainly not a decision to be rushed. Having said that, if you do start the potty training process, but quickly realize your toddler isn’t quite ready yet, there’s no harm in diapering up again. Your time will come!

When to Start Potty Training

So, how do you know when to start potty training, and is there a normal potty training age? Here’s our guide to when to potty train, to get you started…

In this article: 📝

  • How do you know when your child is ready to potty train?
  • Signs your toddler is ready to potty train
  • Is 18 months too early to potty train?
  • Can you potty train a 1 year old?

How do you know when your child is ready to potty train?

When should you start potty training? When your child is ready!

It’s important that not only are they able to physically use a potty, but also have the emotional readiness to succeed.

They’ll be showing other signs of independence too, like preferring to dress and feed themselves.

Signs your toddler is ready to potty train

Whatever their age, there will be signs your toddler is ready to start potty training. If you’re seeing all, or the majority, of these indicators, it could be go-time, mama!

  1. They are interested in the toilet itself, watching other people go to the toilet (say goodbye to your privacy), and seeing the toilet flush.
  2. They don’t like having a wet or dirty diaper and might ask for a diaper change when they need one.
  3. They seek privacy (like hiding in a corner, or going to another room) to have a bowel movement in their diaper.
  4. They are physically able to pull their pants and diaper down and pull their clothes back up again.
  5. They can follow simple, multi-step instructions.
  6. They have the ability and patience to sit still and concentrate (taking books to the potty can help while they learn to stay still).
  7. They understand and can say simple sentences and words relating to going to the toilet, like “I need to poop.”
  8. They can stay dry for a couple of hours, including during nap times.
  9. They might want to start wearing big-kid underwear.
  10. They understand the connection between feeling the need to pee or poop, and getting to the potty.

Generally speaking, there isn’t much difference between toilet training boys and girls.

Some theories suggest it’s easier to potty train girls, as they’ve got less to learn physically (whereas boys will eventually need to learn to stand to pee, sit to poop), and so tend to finish potty training earlier.

However, if you’re wondering when to start potty training boys versus girls, you will be looking out for the same indicators.

Is 18 months too early to potty train?

Not necessarily. The average age toddlers might want to start potty training is usually some time between 18 months and three years of age.

Can you potty train a 1 year old?

So is 12 months too early to potty train? Probably, but there’s always an exception to the rule! As with everything toddler-talk, there’s a wide range of “normal” behaviors. If your one-year-old is showing the signs to start potty training, and you’re ready, too, go for it, mama!

Keep reading our hot tips for how to potty train, including the best kid-friendly potty training books.

And if you’re nervous or want more advice, other Peanut mamas might have just the tricks you need to hear!

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