Toilet training 101

Toilet training 101

Toilet training 101

Toilet training can be stressful. The thought alone can make any parent anxious and want to delay the inevitable!

We want to share some tips and tricks, to demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be a stressful event!  Helping you feel more prepared and ready to take it on.


When should you start?

Children can start to show signs they’re ready for toilet training at around 18-24 months old. However, every child is different so it’s important to watch out for your child’s readiness. After 3 years, it can get a bit harder as developmental milestones like autonomy and independence can make a child more resistant. A good rule of thumb is to start thinking about it early.


Readiness signs to watch for:

  • Nappies are dry for up to 2 hours
  • They can pull their own pants up and down
  • They can sit still for a few minutes
  • They know when they are going and can tell you. Some kids might have a specific place they like to go, even in their nappy.
  • They show interest in the toilet, ask questions and want to ‘help’
  • They can follow simple instructions


Ways to start and test readiness:

  • Children learn by watching & copying, so (as strange as it may feel) let them watch you on the toilet and talk through what is happening. They may ask lots of questions – try and give them factual answers.
  • Start changing their nappy in the toilet area or bathroom, getting them used to being there when they need to go.
  • Try to avoid rewards or punishments. Accidents will certainly happen, so quietly clean up and try again another time. Similarly, quietly demonstrate what success looks like.



Some children just may not be ready, so if it doesn’t seem to be working after a few days or a week, take a break and try again at a later date. Children are unique and just like adults some learn faster than others.  Common setbacks include:

  • Too much change at once. Some children will resist yet another thing to learn or get used to. New house, bed, sibling and family routines can all play a role.
  • Too much pressure when they’re not ready.
  • Some children have no problem with wees but only like to poo in their nappies. This can simply take time and practice.


What do you need to get started?

There is an endless supply of toilet training products on the market. You don’t necessarily need them all, stock up on whatever works for you.

  • Undies – you probably do need these. Getting used to the feeling of underwear and pulling them up and down will be a new and unusual feeling for your child. Have a number of spare pairs handy wherever you are just in case of accidents. Especially at the start of the process. It can be good to get them involved in choosing their undies based on the colour or prints or patterns they like.
  • Toilet Training Undies – these have a little bit of absorption but will still feel wet. So, they’ll help with little accidents. This will also help your child learn when they need to get to the toilet.
  • Potty, toilet seat or Step Up Seat - You can try one or all of these depending on what your child is comfortable with. Potties can be super comfortable for kids if the toilet is a bit scary. Once they’re ready for the toilet, a smaller cushioned seat helps them be comfortable (and means you don’t have to hold them) and one with steps means they can get there quickly themselves too!