Readiness signs used to define the proper moment to start toilet training: a review of the literature

Neurourol Urodyn. 2012 Apr;31(4):437-40. doi: 10.1002/nau.21211. Epub 2012 Mar 6.


Confusion exists about when to start toilet training, which causes stress and anxiety. Another consequence can be the actual postponement of the toilet training process, which has created extra social problems. Therefore, in this review we will focus on the proper moment to start toilet training, more specific on readiness signs. This will clarify on which topics further research is necessary. We searched databases for publications on toilet training. Next, we gathered information about the normal development of healthy children and at which age skills needed for each readiness sign are acquired. Twenty-one readiness signs were found. Our results show that there is no consensus on which or how many readiness signs to use. Depending on the readiness sign, the moment to start toilet training can vary a lot. More studies are needed to define which readiness signs are most important and how to detect them easily.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Toilet Training*