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When are children ready for potty training?

When do doctors recommend potty training toddlers? First, they should show an interest in learning bladder and bowel control.

“You should probably introduce them to the concept between ages 2 and 3,” says J. Lynn Teague, M.D., MHA, FAAP, medical director of Pediatric Urology at Children’s Hospital of Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHS). “The important thing is to avoid anxiety and issues associated with it, because that just makes the sphincter muscle problem worse.”

Another thing parents can be alert for, Dr. Teague says, is bowel problems such as constipation that often occur in conjunction with urinary incontinence.

“The sphincter muscle that holds in the bowel is connected to the one that holds the bladder, too,” Dr. Teague says. “So if you’re keeping your bowel sphincter tight because you don’t want to lose stool control, you’re going to have a hard time relaxing your bladder sphincter to empty your bladder.”
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Trish Booth
Family Medicine
Using the toilet requires complex skills. Children need to know when they are about to have a bowel movement and be able to picture the potty in another room. They also have to be able to pull their pants up and down. Toilet training can begin with children as early as one or as late as four years of age. Most children are ready to begin at about age two and a half.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.