Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Ages & Stages



Physiological and Motor Skills

Cognitive and Verbal Development

Emotional and Social Awareness

 0-12 months


  • Begins to associate between cause and effect
  • Develops to enjoy prais and approval

12-18 months

  • Becomes aware of need to go
  • May begin walking
  • Begins to associate fullness with elimination that follows
  • May begin communicating verbally
  • Emerging desire to mimic other children's behavior
  • Takes pleasure in "doing it himself"

18-24 months

  • Early ability to briefly control sphincter muscles
  • Better able to sit still
  • Improves ability to picture a goal (using the potty) and remember it long enough to complete the act
  • Increased ability to understand verbal explanations
  • Increased urge toward self-mastery
  • Increased desire to please parents and win praise 

24-36 months

  • Able to manage simple clothing
  • Improved memory helps child maintain potty routine
  • Improved imagaination allows for learning through play (dolls, role playing)
  • Takes great pleasure in increasing competence
  • Gender awareness encourages immitation of same-sex parent's bathroom behavior 

3 years+

  • Gradual maturing of digestive system eventually leads to decrease in accidents and bedwetting by around age 5 or 6
  • Improved ability to break focus to go to toilet and to resist distraction while getting there
  • Peer pressure encourages toilet use
  • Enjoys completing sticker charts and working to earn rewards


Last Updated
Guide to Toilet Training (Copyright ┬ę 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.