Updated: May 24
Toilet training is an exciting time for parents and children. A developmental transition in a child’s life can be challenging, frustrating, satisfying and wonderful. It is another skill to be developed in a child’s life. Here are my Top 10 Tips to ensure successful toilet training.
Introduction to toilet training for toddlers
Make sure your child is getting five drinks a day (breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner). The majority should be water. This helps to keep poo regular and soft and helps build good bladder capacity.
Toilet training preparation
Before you start the training stage with your child, move nappies and nappy changing into or close to the toilet area. Tip poo into the toilet, wipe the child’s bottom and ask them to flush the paper. This helps your child get used to the toilet.
Toilet before bath time
As part of your preparation, start sitting your child on the potty or toilet when undressed for a bath or shower. Don’t expect them to do anything, but this helps them to get used to sitting on the toilet or potty.
Try undies at home
When toilet training begins, put your child into undies at home and use a pull-up or nappy when you go out. Undies help your child learn the sensation of being wet and dry, which is unclear with disposable nappies.
Establish a toilet training routine
When toilet training begins, establish how often your child needs to wee and when they are most likely to poo. Try to take your child to the toilet at regular intervals but not too close together - about one and a half to two hours apart is usually right. Tell your child, “it's time to try for a wee”, rather than ask if they need one. Try for a poo at their regular time, or if they have no pattern try about half an hour after a meal.
Expect accidents; they are part of toilet training. If everyone is getting frustrated, put your child’s nappy back on and try tomorrow or another day. It’s okay to try in the mornings or just on weekends and then build on success.
Don't make toilet training a big deal
Relax, and don’t make toilet training a big deal. Don’t talk about it lots, don’t keep repeatedly asking your child if they need the toilet and don’t tell them they will be a big girl or boy if they use the toilet. For many children being a big boy or girl is quite frightening.
Keep toilet training personal
Toilet training is a private matter between you and your child. Don’t discuss it with relatives and friends. When well-meaning people ask you and your child how the child is going, this can add to the anxiety for you and the child.
Remain positive; some children will take longer to learn than others, as with all skill development. Always use appropriate positive language when talking about toileting.
Don't be afraid to stop toilet training.
If it’s not working, don’t be afraid to stop for a few weeks or months. If you are stressed, this can make it harder for your child to learn. Find out more about when to start toilet training in our recent blog.
Monica Ferrie is our Toilet Training expert from Toilet Training Educators. She presents a toilet training segment in the Parents You've Got This Toddler Masterclass and can answer any of your questions regarding toilet training live during the masterclass. To hear the very best expert advice book your spot today.