Photo of little boy sitting on the potty (PantherMedia /

Before you know it, tiny babies turn into toddlers that can walk and talk a little. Parents often then wonder whether it's time to start potty training. Research suggests that it could be a good idea to start getting children used to using a potty or toilet around the age of two.

After birth, children begin a long process of development. The brain continues to mature and learns to control more and more body functions, including bladder and bowel movements. Although this comes naturally to older children, the process is complex, involving various hormones, muscles and the nervous system.

The speed at which children develop varies greatly. Bladder and bowel control is just like any other part of child development. For example, some children already start walking at ten months, while others start at 18 months or later. Studies have shown that most children start using the potty between the ages of two and three years. While some children already learn to use it by the age of two, others only learn when they are four years old.

There are mainly two good reasons for starting potty training around the age of two years:

  • Children under the age of 18 months are often simply not physically capable of using a potty. Starting potty training earlier may mean that it takes longer to see results. That's often frustrating and tedious, both for parents and children.
  • Children who are much older than two years may find it harder to change their habits. Here, too, it might then take a while for the child to learn.

But regardless of the child's age, it's never a good idea to put pressure on them. Doing so can even lead to problems like constipation during potty training.

Learn more