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How to Assess Toileting Readiness

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Knowing the signs of toileting readiness in your child can help alleviate potty training frustrations.

Here's How:

  1. Be sure that your child is able to understand and follow simple instructions.

  2. Consider your child's language capabilities. Does they know and understand "wet" and "dry," and can differentiate between the two?

  3. Determine your child's competence at understanding toileting words such as, "pee, poop, toilet, or potty." Can your child show you where the toilet is when asked?

  4. Take notice when your child begins to exhibit an ability to follow instructions. This can be a good time to introduce your toddler tot he potty chair or toilet.

  5. Take notice of longer dry spells between diaper changes. This indicates your child's muscles are strengthening and beginning to control urine flow.

  6. Take notice when your child begins having bowel movements on a fairly consistent basis. This indicates a strengthening of the muscles that control the bowels.

  7. Recognize your child's desire to do things independently as a vital cue for training readiness.

  8. Take notice when your child exhibits an interest in using the toilet or asks questions about toileting. This is a good time to let your child go through the motions on their own potty chair.

  9. Determine if your child has the coordination skills necessary for independent toileting. Can your child pull their pants up and down independently?

  10. Consider your family's life events. Has there been a recent change in schedules or routines that might be stressful for your child? Training is best accomplished when your child is feeling secure and happy.


  1. Acquaint your child with toileting terms early by offering confirmation and instruction during diaper changes. (Ex. "Did you poop in your diaper?" and "Let's clean up your butt and put the poop in the toilet.")

  2. Allow your child to watch you and other family members use the toilet. Let your child flush it and briefly explain the reasons for using toilet paper and washing hands.

  3. Change your child's diaper as soon as possible after soiling so they don't become comfortable with being soiled.


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