Most people are told to wait to potty train until their child is ready. A better word than ready, is capable. If you wait until your child is ready they could be four or five years old if they’re laid back about pooping in their pants. So how do we know if a child is ready and capable of potty training? Below are 5 potty training readiness signs and capabilities to look out for in your child.

Potty Training Readiness Signs & Capability


If your child is going to a secluded place to poop, you know they’re capable of telling when their body needs to poop, before it happens. When your toddler starts doing this, announce to your little one, “You’re pooping.” That way this potty training readiness sign will turn into acknowledgement of the feeling to poop.

Dry diaper

If your child is keeping a diaper dry for at least 2 hours, then that is their body’s way of showing it is capable of controlling the bladder muscles. It’s also possible that your child is waking up dry after nap and then soon after peeing in their diaper. This is an even more sure sign that they are able to hold their bladder. 

Communicating With You

Your child needs to be able to communicate with you that he needs to go pee or poop. Even if your child isn’t talking, is he able to show you what he wants pretty clearly most times? This may be through sign language, pointing, or taking your hand and walking to where he wants to go. Communication is necessary in order to alert you and make it to the potty before releasing his bladder. 

Repeat Behavior

If your child repeats behavior or words modeled by his caregiver then he is showing the cognitive ability to learn a skill. Most times children learn through modeled repetition and trying it out themselves. You may remember first teaching your child to clap. You said clap and/or yay while showing the action. After multiple times your child made the connection of the word and action and repeated it back to you. 

Age Range

Jamie Glowacki, the author of Oh Crap! Potty Training states that, “Potty training is easiest when done between the ages of twenty and thirty months.” She explains that as children get older they exert their will more and you don’t want it to be a power struggle. “Smack-dab in the middle of that twenty to thirty month age range is best for people. Right around twenty-four months is ideal. At this age, your child is eager to please, is connecting a lot of the dots in the big world around him, is still malleable, and is dying for the more responsibility.”

What Have You Noticed At Home?

Okay so you’ve heard the five readiness signs, showing age-appropriate capability to begin potty training. Have you seen any of those signs? Do you think your child is ready? The next step is to talk about, read about it, and buy a little potty, as well as training underpants. Give it a go and help your child learn necessary tools such as pulling his pants down, flushing, and washing. Make it fun and remember that accidents are part of the process.

Our online class, Potty Training 101, is for parents and nannies, alike, all caregivers can benefit from it! If you’re a parent buying the course, we also encourage you to purchase it for your nanny so that you can provide consistent support to your child. Remember that one of the perks of working with the nanny placement team at Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny is hiring an educated nanny. Once a nanny is placed with you they are given the opportunity to take three free online class, one of which they can choose.

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About The Author

Kelsey Dickson has over 15 years of experience working with children as a nanny, preschool teacher, and now a mother. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education and is a Certified Potty Training Expert. Check out our online childcare classes, such as Baby Sign Language and Sleep Coaching 101! In her free time she enjoys gardening with her son, going for walks with her husband and dog, and discovering local wineries in New England.