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Toilet Training

Children may begin to show some interest in using the toilet at about 18 months of age. At this age, parents may begin to show a young child “the way it’s done,” but don’t expect reliable toilet training for several more months.

There are three conditions which must precede successful toilet training: the neurologic pathways required are only established as of age 2 years; a child must be verbal enough to use phrases or short sentences to indicate the need to go to the bathroom; and most importantly, the desire and motivation to take on this full-time responsibility usually develops between age 2 and 2 ½ years in girls, and between 2 ½ and 3 years in boys.

Prior to a child making it clear to parents that they are ready to give up diapers, parents are free to set an example and offer opportunities to practice, but with absolutely no pressure. The desire to use the toilet must come from the child and really cannot be rushed. That a child must be “trained” to attend pre-school is never a good reason to pressure a child who is not ready.