Toilet/Potty Training for Toddlers: When & How to Start?

Toilet/Potty Training for Toddlers: When & How to Start?

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Vivek Walia

MBBD, MD(Pediatrics)


Toilet training is a monumental milestone in a toddler’s developmental trajectory. It signifies a burgeoning sense of independence and understanding of bodily functions. Typically, toilet training is initiated between the ages of 18 to 24 months, although readiness can vary widely among individual children. This article endeavors to provide a comprehensive guide to parents embarking on the toilet training journey with their toddlers.  

Understanding Toilet Training Readiness

The readiness for toilet training is contingent on a child’s physical, developmental, and behavioral milestones rather than a specific age. Key indicators of readiness include:
  • Sensing the urge to go: The child shows signs of awareness when they need to go.
  • Understanding the sensation: The child can associate the sensation with the need to use the toilet.
  • Verbalizing the need: The child is able to communicate the need to go to the toilet, either verbally or through gestures. Waiting until the child exhibits signs of readiness can significantly smoothen the toilet training process, making it a positive experience for both the child and the parents.

Preparing for Toilet Training

Preparation sets the stage for a successful toilet training venture:
  • Safe Bathroom Environment: Ensuring the bathroom is safe, accessible, and child-friendly is paramount.
  • Introduction to the Potty: Familiarizing the child with the potty or toilet seat, explaining its use, and making it a routine part of their day.

Strategies for Successful Toilet Training

A structured approach can exponentially ease the toilet training process:
  • Establishing a Routine: Set a regular schedule for potty breaks, making it a habitual part of the child’s day.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Praise and positive reinforcement for successful potty attempts can bolster the child’s confidence and motivation.
  • Addressing Setbacks Positively: Accidents are part of the learning curve. Address them with understanding, patience, and reassurance.

What to Avoid

Avoiding common pitfalls can prevent frustration and setbacks:
  • Rushing the Process: Every child is unique in their readiness for toilet training. Avoid rushing the process of comparing your child’s progress with others.
  • Showing Frustration: Displaying frustration or disappointment can deter the child, making toilet training a stressful endeavor.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Sometimes, the journey may warrant professional guidance:
  • Consulting a pediatrician: If you encounter challenges or have concerns regarding your child’s toilet training progress, consulting with a pediatrician can provide valuable insights and recommendations.


Toilet training is a collaborative journey between the child and the parents, rooted in patience, understanding and a positive approach. By recognizing the signs of readiness, preparing adequately, employing effective strategies, and seeking professional guidance, when necessary, parents can navigate the toilet training phase with confidence, nurturing their child’s path towards independence.

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