Teaching your toddler to use the toilet is a major milestone and the thought of no more nappy changes is probably a very welcome one. Some children get the hang of using the toilet right away while others need a little more patience and support. If you attempt to toilet train your toddler when they’re not ready, it can become a very challenging experience for you both so try to make sure the time is right.
Signs Your Toddler Is Ready To Start Toilet Training:
- They’re between 18 months and 3 years old. Most children can’t control their bladder and bowels until around the age of two
- Interest in watching you when you’re using the toilet
- A dry nappy for two hours or more.Their attention span is long enough for them to sit in one position for two to five minutes
- Ability to pull their pants up and down on their own
- Pulling at their nappy and saying they don’t want to wear it anymore, particularly when it’s dirty
- Recognising when their bladder or bowels are full
- Telling you when they have a wet or dirty nappy.
Things To Consider Before You Start Training:
- Choose whether you want to toilet train your toddler using a potty or the toilet. A potty may be less daunting for your little one to start with. Alternatively, you could try a special seat on the toilet and have a footstool so they can easily get up to the toilet
- Teach your toddler key words they can associate with toilet training, such as wee, poo, wet and dry
- If you are comfortable, talk to your toddler about what you are doing when you are using the toilet
- Consider starting training during the warmer months. This may make toilet training easier as your little one is wearing less clothing which can be removed quickly
- Talk to your toddler about how good it will be when they don’t have to wear nappies anymore. If they’re sick of wearing nappies, it may be the motivation they need to get started.
Starting Toilet Training:
- Choose a day to begin when you’re at home to avoid any accidents when out
- Put your toddler in underpants during the day, only use nappies for naps
- Dress them in clothes which are easy for them to take off, such as pants with an elastic waist
- Ask your little one gently throughout the day if they need to use the toilet
- Set a time limit for them to sit on the potty or toilet, five minutes is long enough. Making them sit for long periods can seem like a punishment and may discourage them
- Most toddlers don’t have the skills to wipe their bottom properly, so you’ll need to do this for them until they’re able do it themselves
- Make sure they wash their hands each time after going to the toilet, it’s a great opportunity to teach them some basic hygiene rules
- Give lots of praise when your little one has success with toilet training. Let them know how proud of them you are
- If your toddler is not responding to toilet training after a week, have a break and try again a few weeks later. Remember there is no rush.
The majority of problems with toilet training occur when you try to start toilet training your toddler too early. It is also important not to set a day to have them trained by, e.g. before a new baby comes, as this can cause unnecessary pressure. Toilet training works best when your toddler can go at a pace they can manage.