How will I know if my toddler is ready to potty train? Potty Training

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child sitting on toilet in a blue bathroom
iStock/eldemir

No matter which potty training method you decide to use, these moms and an expert have great advice to share on when you know it's time to get started.

Look Out for Signs

"There are many signs, such as being interested in other people in the house going to the bathroom, wanting to wear underwear, having long periods of being dry, waking up dry from a nap, being embarrassed to urinate or stool in public, telling you when he is about to urinate or stool, or no longer being okay with wearing a dirty diaper. Children tend to be ready to potty train whenever the parents are ready to teach them. Oftentimes, children are labeled as being not ready simply because the...

"There are many signs, such as being interested in other people in the house going to the bathroom, wanting to wear underwear, having long periods of being dry, waking up dry from a nap, being embarrassed to urinate or stool in public, telling you when he is about to urinate or stool, or no longer being okay with wearing a dirty diaper. Children tend to be ready to potty train whenever the parents are ready to teach them. Oftentimes, children are labeled as being not ready simply because the parents are not ready. Of course, there are exceptions, but in general, the more enthusiastic parents are about potty training, the faster the child will learn." -- S. Daniel Ganjian, MD, pediatrician at Providence Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, CA

Don't Go by Age Alone

"Some kids aren't ready until closer to 4 as my oldest was. Don't get mad, they are learning -- it's the same as learning the ABCs. Take your time, be patient and consistent, and it will happen!"

It Will Be Easier

"If it's not easy to potty train, your child isn't ready. We tried toilet training at 2 years and it was a disaster. I took him to the toilet every 15 minutes for five days in a row and he still had tons of accidents a day. When he was finally ready, it was super easy. I was kicking myself for pushing so hard earlier since all signs were telling me he wasn't ready."

Not During a Big Change

"If your child doesn't seem interested or has many accidents, let it go and try again at a later time. Encourage, but don't pressure. Be aware that any major life change may make potty training more difficult. Follow your child's lead and try to be laid-back about the process."

Let Your Child Lead

"If you let them lead the process and give them time, it becomes very easy and something they grow into. For me, it was less important to have my child trained by a set age and more important to keep stress levels low in our home."

Dry Diapers

"I was lucky that my son's daycare teacher noticed he was keeping his diaper dry during the day. Basically, that meant he was already a step ahead of us. It was definitely time!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.