8 ideal signs of potty training readiness for toddlers

My daughter is currently 22 months old and exhibiting many signs of potty training readiness. I’m part of a parent discussion forum on What to Expect and some parents start seeing potty training cues as early as 18 months!

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At 18 months, my daughter had zero potty training readiness signs. It’s difficult not to compare when many parents start potty training super early but I had this innate sense that my daughter was not ready yet.

Then, just out of the blue, I started noticing small cues. They started to increase in frequency to the point where my daughter now sometimes tells me I peed! or I pooped! It’s not consistent but it’s a sign to me that she notices and is aware of her bodily functions.

The author of Oh Crap! Potty Training, Jamie Glowacki, says that the easiest time to potty train is between 20 and 30 months. Her entire book is geared toward that age period. She even has separate chapters for under 20 months and over 30 months.

Check out Amazon for Oh Crap! Potty Training (click image).

Jamie Glowacki is a proponent of acting on your child’s potty training readiness and she explores various markers in her book.

These are the potty training readiness signs that we experienced.

1. Dry diapers

If your toddler’s diaper is dry for an hour or two, or even longer, that could be a sign of potty training readiness.

I started to notice that my toddler’s diaper would be dry during the times I would routinely change her, like before a nap or after a nap. Then, a couple of times, I noticed that she was dry in the morning after sleeping an entire night!

For us, dry diapers on its own wasn’t an indication of total potty training readiness. But it was definitely the point where my husband and I purchased Oh Crap! Potty Training and started reading.

2. Able to sing “ABC” song

potty training readiness

I never thought about this potty training readiness cue before reading Jamie Glowacki’s book. When a toddler is able to sing the ABC song, they are most likely developmentally ready to start potty training.

It does make sense. If your child is able to sing the ABC’s, then they have definitive language skills and have learned something through repetition. I thought that was kind of genius.

At the moment, my daughter can sing about two-thirds of the ABC song. She gets jumbled up halfway through and skips a bunch of letters but she’s still learning.

3. Predictable pee and poop schedule

I started to notice small patterns in my toddler’s pee and poop schedule. Upon awakening, she will take her morning pee 15-20 minutes after waking up. This happens almost every day.

She also rarely pees during her naptime between 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.

There was a point where her pooping schedule was very predictable, but that faded away as she got a little bit older.

potty training readiness

It’s exciting to be able to recognize these patterns. It will help a lot with potty training if your toddler has a predictable pee and poop schedule.

4. Able to verbalize bodily functions

As my daughter was starting to walk and would follow me everywhere, I just adopted an open door policy for peeing and pooping. I would explain to her that I was peeing or pooping and she would say all done! when I flushed the toilet.

Just recently, she started telling me I peed or I pooped! Sure enough, I check her diaper and she has peed or pooped. She doesn’t do this consistently. There are still plenty of times when she doesn’t say anything but at least I know she has the ability to verbalize it.

5. Asks for a diaper change

This potty training readiness sign came about around the time she was able to verbalize her bodily functions. One day, she came up to me with a diaper and said I peed.

When this first happens, it’s a little shocking, heartwarming, and exciting all at the same time. This toddler was a baby a few months ago and now she’s asking for a diaper change?!

Again, she doesn’t ask for a diaper change consistently but enough for me to know that she is aware that she peed or pooped and wants to be changed.

6. Pee cues become more pronounced

I am able to tell when my daughter is about to poop, but pee is a little more of a mystery. To me, it seemed like there were absolutely no pee cues.

As we are approaching her potty training start date, I’m starting to see the tiniest cues for a pee. One day, we were walking out the door. She stopped dead in her tracks and stood there for about 10 seconds. She had just peed!

My toddler talks a lot and is constantly on the go. So I notice that she’ll take a pause in her activity and have the slightest amount of concentration when she pees.

7. Communicating needs

potty training readiness

Is your toddler able to communicate his or her needs in other areas as well? According to Oh Crap! Potty Training, this is also a great marker of potty training readiness.

My toddler doesn’t state that she’s hungry but she will ask for a snack. She also asks for milk, to go outside, to go on a walk, and for certain toys. 

She can generally communicate to me and my husband what she needs or wants.

8. Ability to undress herself

This potty training readiness sign did not come about naturally. We had to take an active part in encouraging her to learn how to undress.

Initially, my daughter simply refused to do it. We still have good and bad days, but I have confidence that she’s able to pull down her pants and use a potty chair independently. I’ve found that loose-fitting jogger pants are much easier to maneuver than leggings.

Check out Amazon for great potty training gear (click images).

Final thoughts on potty training readiness

One of the biggest things I learned from Oh Crap! Potty Training is that I have to be 100% on board when we start. A toddler will feed off of a parent’s doubt about their ability to potty train.

Honestly, there are days when I feel that she’s not ready, but that’s my own personal doubt speaking. Writing this article has cemented for me that she is absolutely ready to potty train. I just need to get myself mentally ready too.

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