When to Start Potty Training

Little girl on toddler toilet seat choosing when to start potty training

Download free printable reward charts and learn when to start potty training toddlers or children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD-NOS).

Usually, the best initial potty training age is somewhere around 18 months, but first you need to make sure that your child is ready and able to do the necessary skills.

Each child will develop at his/her own pace and children with developmental disabilities may need to start at an older age.
One of the main concerns is training a child that is wearing a pull up. This eliminates the ability for a child to feel the sensation of wetness when they are urinating in their pants and delays getting fully trained. Older children have often already been wearing pull ups, so this can be a greater concern than it is for younger children. 

Behaviors that indicate when to start potty training:

Many of the required behaviors, as well as those associated with using the toilet, are listed on my free printable reward charts to help motivate children in learning and get them excited about becoming a big kid. Knowing when to start the recommended potty training in three days process, is based on when your child is able to perform all of the following necessary behaviors.

free potty charts

• Elimination muscles have reached full maturity (occurs sometime between 12 and 24 months)- this is indicated by:

- Child awareness of needing to go – ex. may grunt during BM
- Long periods of dryness
- Urinating large amounts at one time
- Somewhat regular bowel movements

• Shows interest in using the toilet
• Able to effectively indicate the need to go with words, signs or pictures.
• Knows the difference between wet and dry
• Able to follow 1-2 step directions
• Ability to pull pants up and down independently
• Willing to sit on his/her chair or toilet for at least 1 minute
• Demonstrates imitation behavior
• Shows desire to gain approval from others

Although, the average age for potty training is around 18-24 months, some children may show readiness prior to this age or much later, especially children with characteristics for autism. It really depends on whether the child is able to do the behaviors listed above.

Once a child is ready, you can easily follow the outlined protocol in order to achieve great success in getting your child potty trained and ready for preschool. 

You may also find the following pages very helpful:

Potty Training Tips
How to Start
Maintenance Phase – DAY 2
Guide for Public Places – DAY 3
When to start Potty Training a Bowel Movement

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References

1. Potty Training Concepts. When to start potty training? What is the right age for potty training? 10-23-10.