How to Know When Your Child Is Ready to Potty Train

I’m suddenly surrounded by toddlers and I’m totally okay with that! My nephew is almost two, and I have so many friends that have 2-4 year old’s. It’s funny how life comes at you in spurts like that. Last week Emmy started asking for a baby sister or brother again…actually she asked when she gets to be a big sister. We had to sympathetically let her know that she wasn’t going to be a big sister, but that she is a big cousin to her cousin R, and that it is just as cool! Being around him this past weekend, she dedicated her time to teaching him as much as she could. They read books, jumped on one foot and just had fun. During our visit, Emmy watched her almost two-year-old cousin ask to have his diaper changed. She then turned to me and asked me “why doesn’t he just use the toilet?” His mom turned to me and asked (wished for) the same thing. That got us talking about knowing when a child is ready to be potty trained.


After potty training three kids, I’ve learned quite a few things about the subject.

The most important thing that I have learned is that each child is different in the timing, and in what works to actually get them potty trained. However, there are a few signs of readiness that will help you determine if it’s time to move forward with your family’s potty training journey.

Here are some signs that your child is ready to start potty training:

  1. They ask to have their diaper changed. This is a big one because that means that they are uncomfortable with a non-fresh diaper. It is normally one of the first signs that potty training is going to be right around the corner.
  2. They ask about going potty in the toilet. They are showing interest even if it is not about themselves. It might be about a parent, sibling, or friend. This means that they understand that there is another option to using the diaper.
  3. They want to try going potty like a “big girl or boy.” Each of my daughters asked to try the potty out of the blue, and one of them actually went and sat on the toilet (clothes still on) because she knew everyone else did it.
  4. They have a dry diaper for a longer-than-usual time. I first knew my daughter was ready when she started consistently waking up from naps with a dry diaper.
  5. They tell you they went potty or have to go potty. As soon as your little one says either of these, you are in a great place to start potty training.

The most important thing to remember is that each child is ready at a different age, so the timing for their siblings, cousins, neighbor’s child, etc. is going to be different. Also, once you start this journey, remember that what works for one child, might not work for your child. The good news is that Pull-Ups® teamed up with child development expert Dr. Heather Wittenberg to create, tips tools and advice to help you and your child potty train in a fun way, and as a partnership between you and your child with the Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership. I so wish this had been there for me when I was potty training because the advice and tips are spot on and so helpful, and I love that it’s not one size fits all either. Everything is tailored to help your child individually based on their unique personality!

The first thing parents can do is take a quick personality quiz that will help customize the potty training journey from the very beginning with five potty training personalities: Puppy, Owl, Bear Cub, Turtle, and Squirrel. Emmy was the Squirrel! I especially agree with the “once you start using Pull-Ups never go back to diapers” tip. Consistency is so important and that is the one thing that helped with all three of my kids…especially since Pull-Ups are the best of both worlds. They feel like underwear and teach your child independence since they can slide them on & off on their own, and they also have great protection for the occasional potty accident.

And speaking of potty training accidents, I think one of the most important things I learned during potty training is that accidents are bound to happen during the journey. If you ever find yourself worrying about regression, watch Dr. Heather Wittenberg explain what to expect from accidents during potty training, and what that means for your child.

To find out your child’s potty personality, take the personality quiz at, and get tools and advice to help you and your child partner together throughout the potty training journey.

Do you have any potty training tips to share?

Heather Delaney Reese from It's a Lovely Life is an inspirational storyteller and lifestyle writer who loves food, travel, So Cal, tech, Disney & family adventures.

This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups® Training Pants.



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