7 Stages of Potty Training

From signs of readiness to using the potty alone, the seven stages of potty training for toddlers explained.

There are seven stages of potty training. They begin with showing signs of potty training readiness and conclude with being able to use the toilet away from home.

Stage 1: Signs of Readiness 

The first stage of potty training begins when your child shows the following signs of potty training readiness:

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  • Expresses an interest in using the potty
  • Irritated when diapers are wet
  • Pull pants up and down by him or her self
  • Stays dry for about two hours at a time
  • Expresses the need to go potty (or indicate that he/she just has)
  • Expresses an interest in cotton underwear
  • Has predictable bowel movements
  • Tries to imitate other family members

Stage 2: Introduction to the Idea of Potty Training

When your child shows a majority of the signs of potty training readiness, it’s time to introduce him to the concept of using the potty.

This can be done by reading a potty training book as a bedtime story or watching a potty training video or DVD together.


Purchase a potty chair and let your child watch you use the potty. Children will often imitate family members.

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Stage 3: Sit On the Potty

When your child has been introduced to the concept of potty training, he will probably imitate family member and sit on his potty chair while you use the bathroom. This is a good time to teach good hygiene such as wiping and washing hands after using the potty.

Stage 4: Use the Potty Sometimes

Be sure to give your child plenty of liquids and take him to the potty every 30 minutes. This will help build muscle memory. The VibraLite watch can make potty training reminders fun for your child.

The first time your child uses the potty, make a big deal of his huge accomplishment. A hug, encouraging words, or a small treat can be good motivational tools.

Stage 5: Use the Potty Alone

As your child gets more comfortable with the potty and his ability to control his bodily functions, he will go to the potty by himself. He will then come tell you about it. Again, this is a time for lots of praise and encouragement.

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Stage 6: Transition to the Toilet

When your child is comfortable using his potty seat, it’s time to transition him to the toilet. Many children are afraid of falling in, so you may need to purchase a toilet seat adapter such as the Flip-N-Flush. This device reduces the size of the toilet hole, thereby making you child feel more secure.

Stage 7: Use Potty Away From Home

The last stage of potty training occurs when your child is able to use the potty away from home. Thankfully, there are many portable and disposable toilet seats available to keep your child from touching public toilet seats.

Some children breeze through the seven stages of potty training in a matter of weeks, while other’s take several months. Your child’s progress depends on his or her stage of development, your potty training knowledge/actions, as well as the potty training products you have available.

Reprinted with permission.

Like this article? You might also like Potty Training: Tips that Stick! and Potty Training Boys: Is it Harder?

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From signs of readiness to using the potty alone, the seven stages of potty training for toddlers explained.

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2 Comments on "7 Stages of Potty Training"


  1. My eighteen month old son take their diapers off all the time — they even get into their soiled diapers and get it on their bed. Everybody continues informing me that it’s a good time to potty train them, but my precious isn’t really speaking. How can I teach when my baby cannot tell me when it’s toilet time? any suggestioms orhelp?


  2. My boys went through that stage when they were exactly the same age, and I can assure you that they were in no way ready to be potty trained. We started potty training when they were two, and they weren’t completely potty trained until about 3 1/2. It totally depends on the child. If he is interested in potty training, he is ready to start. If he is not interested, he is not ready. You can’t force him. When my boys took their diapers off we ended up using packing tape and wrapping it around their diapers to keep them from taking them off! After awhile they even figured out how to get that off. Unfortunately this lasted several months, but one day they just stopped and never did it again.

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