What Age Is Normal for Potty Training?

By Kathy Gleason
Potty-training can be hard on your whole family.
Potty-training can be hard on your whole family.

Some parents are eager for potty-training from the moment they change their first dirty diaper. For others, it's a bit of a bittersweet reminder that their child is getting older. Whatever your feelings, at some point you'll realize that it's time to start potty-training. The age at which a child is ready for potty-training varies significantly, although parents have a few general ways to tell when their little one is ready.

Age Range

Children often show signs of readiness for potty-training between 18 months and 2 years old. However, don't be discouraged if your little one doesn't seem ready or resists potty-training for significantly longer; some children are nearly 3 years old before they start. If you're curious whether your child is on track developmentally, talk to his pediatrician about your concerns.

Girls Vs. Boys

According to the KidsHealth website, girls usually are ready for potty-training before boys. This is just a generalization and your son or daughter could be the exception.


Some children quickly master using the potty and staying dry during the day, but have significantly more trouble at night. This is normal because it's harder to have bladder or bowel control while sleeping. Don't worry whether this sounds like your child. Simply use training pants at night or use mattress protectors on your child's crib or bed to keep from ruining the mattress and reduce the chances of needing to be awake and changing bedding in the middle of the night.

Signs of Readiness

Your child might be ready to begin potty-training when she displays certain signs, according to the Family Doctor website. For example, if your child shows interest in the potty and expresses discomfort when wet or dirty, it might be time to start trying. If your toddler can follow simple directions and pull her pants up and down, she might be ready. Another good sign of potty-training readiness is if she sometimes wakes up from naps with a dry diaper because that means she's got at least a bit of bladder control.

About the Author

Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.