13 signs your toddler is ready to start potty training

Picking the right time to start potty training your toddler is a tricky and delicate business. If you force it on them before they’re ready, you may create stubbornness and resistance, and if you wait too long, they’ll be able to talk you out of trying!

So how do you know when your little one is ready to ditch the nappies and squat on the potty? Here’s a handy checklist we created to help you measure your child’s readiness.

Your child may be ready to toilet train if they:

  1. Have regular bowel movements, and their dirty nappies are fairly predictable
  2. Have the coordination and balance required to squat and sit on the potty or toilet for a few minutes at a time
  3. Wee every few hours, and when they do so are able to urinate a fair amount at one time
  4. Regularly let you know when nature calls (or has called and left a present!)
  5. Understand simple directions eg. “go to the potty now, sit down”
  6. Can sit still for 2-5 minutes
  7. Can pull up and pull down their pull-up nappy and pants/skirt
  8. Knows what ‘poo’, ‘wee’ (or other variations) are and can say those words
  9. Demonstrates a clear desire for independence (pushing your hand away and saying “I do it” or “me” are clear signs)
  10. Dislikes the feeling of wearing a wet or dirty nappy and is able to communicate this to you (whether in grunts, gestures or words)
  11. Is able to predict the need to wee or poo seconds or minutes before they need to go, and lets you know
  12. Is curious about toilets and what their use is, and perhaps copies your behaviour
  13. Wakes up from a sleep with a dry nappy, which means they have sufficient bladder control not to wee for a few hours

Is there anything we’ve missed? How did you know when your toddler was ready to toilet-train?

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