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Potty Training - Signs of Readiness


Potty Training is one of the greatest milestones that we pride ourselves in our child achieving. It can however be a daunting process and potentially, one of the messier ones too!

As with many milestones, it can be a little confusing for us parents to work out if our child is actually ready to start. It is important to determine if your child is ready to begin based on their physical, emotional and cognitive readiness cues rather than a set age milestone. The age at which your child may be ready to start potty training can vary a lot and many parents first attempt to potty or toilet train when their little one is around 2.5 years old however it’s important not to force this if your little one isn’t ready.


Physical readiness tends to come before both cognitive or emotional readiness, most commonly between 24-30 months, however, this is just a guide and isn’t set in stone so please don’t feel pressure or put pressure on your little one if they don’t seem ready at this point.


Physical symptoms are often easier to spot early on, these include;

1. Longer periods of around 1 to 2 hours with dry nappies or pull ups – until they’re around 20 months old, toddlers still urinate frequently but once they start to be able to go for longer stretches of time, it is a good sign that they’re developing bladder control and are becoming physically ready for potty training.

2. Physically able to sit down on the potty and stand up again – this is a great sign that your little one is physically able to use their potty with ease, ready for the next stage.

3. Stopping in their tracks when they have done a wee or a poo – you might notice your little on stop as they do a wee or poo or you might notice they start becoming more vocal and broadcasting when they have gone or may use facial expressions instead to signal.


Emotional readiness signs are important as show that your child is now showing an interest in staying clean and dry and can include the following;

· Insisting on a nappy change once they have soiled – this is a great sign that they are becoming aware of what they are doing and may be ready to potty train as they no longer want to stay in a soiled or wet nappy and instead want you to change them straight after, showing an interest in staying clean and dry.

· Hiding when doing a poo (behind a curtain / sofa / under the table) – another sign that your little one may feel ready is when they start to hide away when they are doing a poo, they are becoming aware and want privacy.

· Shows an interest in yours / older siblings toileting – it may feel like an invasion of privacy but hey, that went out the window a long time ago! Your little one may start following you to the toilet, watching your actions and ask questions about what you are doing along with the question that all kids love – why?

Cognitive readiness is when your child understands when they need to do a wee or poo and communicating that need to you, these signs can include;

· They take your hand and lead you to the potty – your child is showing you that they know they have the urge to go and will seek you out to take them to the potty, showing awareness that the urge to go results in using a potty or toilet.

· Starting to show independence in dressing and undressing – once your child is showing signs that they can undress and dress themselves, they are showing you that they will be able to follow the process involved once they are no longer in nappies.

· Able to communicate and understand simple instructions such as ‘pick up that toy’ – this understanding and awareness of following instructions will enable your child to understand the process involved in using a potty or toilet and help them master this exciting milestone.


You don’t necessarily have to wait for your child to be showing all these signs but the more they are able to show, will indicate that your child is ready to start potty training. The more ready they are, can mean that your child will find the process straightforward, less stressful and may have fewer accidents! Happy child and happy Mama!


If you would like to find out more, we run in-person Potty Training Workshops and you can find out all about them on our website.

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