There is no age set when to start potty train your boy or girl, it depends on the toddler's development and readiness if the time is right. If you want to know if the toddler is ready for it you have to learn to read the signs.
There are four signs of a child readiness to start potty training:
1. physiological development (bladder and bowel control)
2. motor skills
3. cognitive and verbal development
4. emotional and social awareness
1. Physiological Development (Bladder and Bowel Control):
Research tells us that toddler’s elimination muscles reach full maturity between 12-24 months, with an average age of 18 months. To know how far the maturity of your child’s elimination muscles are you have to pay attention to his/her behavior and actions in this area. Mostly somewhere around their first birthday children will begin to feel when they have a full rectum or bladder and that they need to empty it. This will be expressed in their behavior by squatting and grunting or tugging their diaper. At this age they don’t know how to control this. But they are starting to get aware of the feeling of fullness and the act of defecating or urinating.
At the age of 12-24 months, when your toddler’s elimination muscles are matured your child will know how to delay excretion for a short moment. Your child won’t have bowel movements at night anymore and you will notice that your toddler can stay dry for a few hours.
So, is it wise to start potty training when you think that your toddler has full control of his/her bladder and bowel? Not necessarily.
Although your child is physiological ready to start potty training he or she might not have the other skills ( motor skills, cognitive and verbal development, emotional and social awareness) ready which are required to start the whole toilet training process.
2. Motor Skills:
The most children will start to walk around when they are 12 months. Once they start doing this they also may be starting to get more interest in other “grown up” skills. From this time on they will develop motor skills required for potty training, like pulling their underpants down and up all by themselves.
3. Cognitive and Verbal Skills:
Potty training requires a complicated combination of physical and cognitive tasks. He/She has to learn to associate the physical sensation with the right response and become familiar with this. When you are teaching your child the routines of going to the potty your child must have the ability to understand your explanations.
At the age from 1-2 your child will become aware of their body parts. This is the right time for you to teach them the words for all body parts and all the other words that you will use during the potty training.
They will have to have the ability for more complex thinking (follow instructions) and have the ability to solve a problem. So that they will be able to stop whatever they are doing when they feel that fullness and they can figure out where the potty is and go there.
4. Emotional Growth and Social Awareness:
This is one of the hardest readiness to notice. But when you notice that your child is getting more self mastery, desire for approval, and social awareness you will know that he/she is developing emotional growth. There is a time in each toddlers life when you will hear them say “I can do it” or “I am a big boy now”, then you will know they want to start to get more independent.
Social awareness is the ability to observe others and the desire to be like them. Every child reaches a time,(average at an age of 18 months) that they become fascinated by others (children or grownups). They will now start to imitate behaviors.