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Routines and Rituals

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 06-11-2007

Learning to use the toilet

After 12 months of dealing with diapers, parents may want a change.
Parents often say, “I’ll be so glad when she can use the toilet!”

The key is not when you are ready, but when your child is ready.
Problems with getting children out of diapers almost always come from
trying too soon.

Typically, girls are ready before boys. Some children are ready around age
18 months, while others are not ready until age three.

When is a child ready?

Your child is ready to learn to use the toilet when she has:

Physical ability

  • is able to walk.
  • has a larger bladder, so she urinates fewer times a day.
  • wakes up from a nap with a dry diaper.
  • can control the muscles that hold and release urine and bowel
  • can take underwear off and put it back on.

Mental ability

  • understands the body’s signals for needing to use the toilet.
  • understands words such as “pee-pee,” “poo-poo,” and “potty.”
  • understands what is expected: when to go, what to do and where
    to do it.
    Social and emotional ability
  • can express her needs, like telling you that her diaper needs to be
  • wants to learn to use the toilet.

When all these abilities are in place, your child can move out of diapers
easily. A child who is not ready may resist learning, and parents may
become frustrated. Don’t force it!

This content has been provided freely by CMC. Click Healthy Start, Grow Smart—Your-Twelve-Month-Old for your free download. Click GreatDad Free Ebook to download the entire Health Start, Grow Smart series.

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