Potty Training Basics?

When should I start potty-training my child? How do I kick it off?
ByThe Bump Editors
Updated
Mar 2017
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Every kid is different and there are a lot of factors that go into when a child is ready, but if you’re looking for some ballpark timing, two-and-a-half tends to be the ideal age to begin the full training process — but only if she’s showing readiness signs. “Usually, when baby’s 15 to 18 months old, you can start to sense she’s getting ready,” says Anita Chandra-Puri, MD, a pediatrician with Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group and an instructor of clinical pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Some of the signs it’s time to start are:

• She lets you know when she needs to go.

• She’s interested in the toilet and undies.

• She fusses about dirty diapers.

• She can sit on and rise from a potty.

• Her diaper stays dry for two hours or longer during the day.

Once you see those signs — and you notice in her expressions or behavior that she needs to use the toilet — suggest going to the potty. When she’s on the toilet, give positive reinforcements (like cheering her on).

Put a potty chair in the bathroom, schedule bathroom times so she gets into a routine, and bring her to the toilet if you sense she needs to use it. Communicate with your child and understand that if she isn’t ready, you shouldn’t force it. “Never pressure them; they’ll be ready when they’re ready,” says Chandra-Puri.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Chat With Other Moms Who Are Potty Training

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