Toilet/potty training

Tips on timing, technique and handling accidents

Toilet/potty training

Most children are ready to start potty training between 18 months and 3 years of age. However, all children are different, and it is important to wait until your child is ready.

You might feel your child is ready to start potty training when you notice the following:

  • Your child can get on and off the potty
  • Your child can pull their clothes and underwear down
  • Your child can follow instructions
  • Your child knows when they have a wet or dirty nappy and they tell you this
  • Your child can stay dry for an hour or two
  • Your child knows when they are doing a wee and they tell you this
  • Your child knows when they need to do a wee or a poo and they may tell you this in advance

How to start?

  • Choose a time when there are few other big changes such as house moving or a new sibling arriving
  • Keep a potty in the bathroom (and one downstairs if the bathroom is upstairs)
  • Once you have chosen a time to start, swap nappies or pull-ups for pants
  • Encourage your child to sit on the potty regularly, particularly after meals and at any time you know your child normally does a poo
  • Encourage boys to sit down to wee – this helps them to empty their bladder properly and makes sure they can poo as well if they need to
  • Don’t make a fuss if they have an accident but do praise them when they succeed

Night-time potty training

Night-time potty training might take longer than daytime potty training. If your child’s nappy is dry or very nearly dry in the morning, they may be ready for night-time potty training. Make sure that your child uses the potty just before bed and then make sure it is nearby if they need to use it during the night. Use a waterproof sheet and have clean bedding and pyjamas to hand. If things aren’t going well, stick with nappies for a little longer and try again later.

What to do when there are problems?

If after you start potty training, it appears that your child was not quite ready, go back to nappies/pull-ups and try again in a few weeks.

If you have any other concerns about potty training, you can talk to your health visitor or GP.

You can also contact us on the Early Years team for support.

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