Toilet Training | When and How?

Toilet Training | When and How?

Toilet training can be hard work, but it’s important to stay calm and positive. The key is making sure that your child is showing signs they are ready.

Children usually start showing signs that they are ready to toilet train around two years, although this can be slightly earlier or later for some.

Your child is showing signs of being ready if –

  • They are becoming more independent in completing tasks
  • They are showing more of an interest in others using the toilet, although this can feel uncomfortable its a great way of introducing the potty/toilets use to them.
  • They are able to pull their own trousers up and down.
  • They are able to go for a couple of hours with a dry nappy.
  • They are able to communicate, either with vocalisations or gestures, when their nappy is wet or dirty.

If they are showing any of these signs and you feel that they are ready, its time to get started.

The first step with toilet training is deciding whether you are going to use a potty or toilet train. There are some advantages of using a potty, such as them being portable and sometimes children find them less scary than a toilet. Some children are happy to use both, which can make life a lot easier when you are out and about. I suggest finding our their preference and going with it, at the end of the day for this to work they need to feel comfortable.

If using the toilet to train just bare in mind that you may need to make sure that you have all the right equipment. For example a step for them to be able to get onto the toilet and a smaller seat to stop those fears about falling in.

Another thing to consider when thinking about toilet training is about any up and coming changes in their little lives. Whilst I don’t agree that you need to plan toilet training around time at home it is important to think about what else is going on for them. Like with anything too many changes in their lives in short space of time can be overwhelming.

Tips for getting toilet training ready –

  • Teach them words or gestures that they can use to indicate that they need the toilet.
  • When changing their nappy ask them if it’s wet or dirty.
  • Let your child try sitting on the potty or toilet so that they can get used to it.
  • Let your child watch you or another trusted grown up go toilet and talk to them about what you are doing.
  • Involve them in buying any equipment that you need and their knickers/pants.
  • Ensure that your child is eating plenty of fibre and drinking plenty of water to ensure that they don’t become constipated.

Starting Toilet Training

Once you start toilet training its important to remember that it may take days, weeks or even months. The key is not push your child and let them go at their own pace.

I don’t believe that toilet training should take place when you know you have a couple of days when you will be home. Although, it is important that if you are out and about you make time for visits to the toilet and that you aren’t to far away from one.


  • Sit your child on the toilet or potty at when you have noticed they usually do a poo.
  • Look out for signs that they may need the toilet – going quite and changes in posture are common signs.
  • If they haven’t done anything within 2-3 minutes of sitting on the toilet/potty take them off. It can feel like a punishment if they are left to sit on the toilet/potty for long periods of time.

Encouraging and reminding your child:

  • To begin with they may need encouragement to go to the toilet every 30 minutes or two. You can reduce this if they are having accidents and then gradually leave longer gaps when they are getting the hang of it.
  • Praise your child for trying even if they don’t do anything.
  • When they do have accidents try not to get frustrated. Children don’t usually have accidents on purpose, just clean it up, give them some reassurance and carry on.

I hope you find these pointers helpful. If at any time your worried about how your child is adapting to toilet training talk to your Health visitor or GP.


1 Comment

  1. March 7, 2019 / 9:39 pm

    Potty training was always something I dreaded but we left it to the children to ‘decide’ when they were ready. We spoke about it, had potty’s in the bathroom and they came to the toilet when we went etc. Like you said. When they asked for pants / knickers we bought them and left them out. We were very lucky that ours got up one morning took their nappy off and put their pants on. We didn’t look back.

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