Toilet training

​Toilet training is a milestone that many parents look forward to.

Most children are ready to start toilet training around two years of age, although some children become interested as early as 18 months. Signs of being ready to start toilet training include:

  • showing interest in watching others go to the toilet
  • being able to walk, and to sit for short periods
  • going several hours between wet nappies
  • being able to follow simple instructions.

Some parents choose to use a toilet or a potty to start toilet training, or use both. See which one your toddler prefers and go with what works.

When you start toilet training, choose a day when you don’t plan on leaving the house – this allows time and space to learn a new skill in a familiar and safe environment.

Here are some other useful toilet training tips:

  • Stay positive and calm when toilet training.
  • Dress your toddler in clothes that are easy to take off, like pants with an elastic waistband.
  • Teach your child some words for going to the toilet – for example, ‘wee’, ‘poo’ and ‘I need to go’.
  • It’s a good idea to ask regularly if they feel the need to go to the toilet – this helps children become aware of the urge before it’s too late.
  • Sit your child on the potty (or toilet) at times you’ve noticed they might poo – such as 30 minutes after eating.
  • Look for cues they’re ready to use the toilet, such as jiggling. If nothing happens after five minutes or so, take a break – sitting for too long can start to seem like a punishment.
  • Make sure you reward success and praise your toddler for trying. This could include switching to training pants or picking a colourful pair of underpants.

Accidents will definitely happen, and most children aren’t dry all night until much later – but toilet training can be fun and rewarding for both you and your toddler as you see him or her grow in confidence.