Toilet Training: Readiness Factors

  • Situation

    My daughter is 6 years old and is not toilet trained. There have been so many other issues that we have not gotten around to this. Now that she is getting older and bigger I’m thinking we should tackle toilet training. How do I know if she is ready?

  • Summary

    There are a number of factors to consider when deciding to start a toilet training program with your child. A way to look at “readiness” for toilet training is to consider and review sets of behaviors which are demonstrated during successful toilet training. Review the Process Section for a list of questions to think about and answer when considering toilet training.

  • Definition

    A number of factors and behaviors can be reviewed prior to the start of a toilet training program in order to determine if the child is “ready” for toilet training.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    see process section

  • Process

    1. The following factors and behaviors can be reviewed for consideration prior to starting a toilet training program. These factors are from Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism & Related Disorders – A Comprehensive Guide for Parents & Teachers by Maria Wheeler, M.Ed.


    2. What is the level of awareness the child has on elimination-related issues?


    3. Does the child act different or notice when diapers or clothing are wet or soiled?


    4. Is there any interest or difference in behavior related to the bathroom, toilet, hand washing, dressing, undressing or other related tasks?


    5. Has any interest or change in behavior been shown in response to seeing other people involved in activities or with objects related to toileting?


    6. Is the child able to remain dry and unsoiled for one to two hours at a time? Can the child remain dry and unsoiled during naps? (Caution: Avoid postponing toilet training when a child shows other signs of readiness, but does not remain dry and unsoiled)

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Ironman Potty Story (Word document)


    Ironman Potty Story (PDF)


    Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism & Related Disorders (sample retail site to purchase book)

    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.