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The Potty Training Readiness Quiz

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Potty Training Solution

Potty training is easier and happens faster if your child is truly ready in all three areas: physical, cognitive and social. But the big question is: how do you know when your child is ready? If you have never traveled this road before, you likely don’t even know what signs to look for. Take this quiz to find out where your child is on the readiness spectrum.


1. I can tell by watching that my child is wetting or filling his diaper:
a. Never.
b. Sometimes.
c. Usually.

2. My toddler's diaper needs to be changed:
a. Frequently, every hour or two.
b. It varies.
c. Every two to three hours--sometimes less frequently.

3. My child understands the meaning of wet, dry, clean, wash, sit, and go:
a. No.
b. Some of them.
c. Yes.

4. When my child communicates her needs, she:
a. Says or signs a few basic words and I guess the rest.
b. Gets her essential points across to me.
c. Has a good vocabulary and talks to me in sentences.

5. If I give my child a simple direction, such as, "put this in the toy box," she:
a. Doesn't understand or doesn't follow directions.
b. Will do it if I coach or help her.
c. Understands me and does it.

6. My child can take his pants off and put them on:
a. No.
b. With help he can.
c. Yes.
7. When I read a book to my child, he:
a. He ignores me.
b. Sometimes listens, sometimes wanders off.
c. Sits, listens and enjoys the story.

8. My toddler wants to do things “all by myself”:
a. Never.
b. Sometimes.
c. All the time!

9. I think that it's the right time to begin potty training:
a. No.
b. I'm undecided.
c. Yes.

Total the number of responses for each letter:
a. __________
b. __________
c. __________

Most answers are a: Wait.
Your little one doesn't seem to be ready just yet. Test again in a month or two.

Most answers are b: Time for pre-potty training--get ready!
Your child is not quite ready for active training, but you can take many steps to prepare your toddler for the future. Gradual introduction of terms and ideas will make potty training easier when the time comes.

Most answers are c: Your toddler is ready to use the potty!
It's time to start your potty training adventure. Good luck, and have fun!

Are you between two scores?
Just like any parenting situation, there are choices to make. If your child is hovering between two categories, it's time to put your intuition to good use. Your knowledge of your own child can direct you toward the right plan of action.

This article is an excerpt from The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2006)

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