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Its Potty Time

Toilet Training

Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to toilet training. People will happily tell you when/why/how you should be toilet training your child. Despite what they say, there is no right time or right way to toilet train your toddler – sorry!

It really comes down to the ‘readiness’ of the individual child, as well as the personalities of parent and child. The following are some handy tips to help you on your toilet training journey.

  • When to start: While there is no right time to start, many parents begin to think about toilet training when their children are aged between18 months – 3 years old. A few indicators that they may be ready include:
  1. They know the difference between wee and poo.
  2. They ask you to change their soiled nappy.
  3. They tell you when they are doing a wee or poo.
  4. They show an interest when you go to the toilet.
  5. They can follow simple instructions and can complete basic tasks by themselves.
  6. They can get their pants up and down independently.


Potty or Toilet?

This really comes down to personal choice. Many parents choose to start with a potty as it can be less intimidating for a child to use and can be positioned in a central living area to avoid (hopefully!) too many accidents.

Some Toddlers will go straight to using a toilet, which has the advantage of no mess. It’s important your child can sit on the toilet independently and you can purchase toddler toilet seats and steps to help with this.

  • Introduce your child to the idea of wearing underwear and sitting on the potty/toilet to do their wee/poo. Make a special visit to the shops and let them choose their underwear and potty.
  • Have you child join you in the bathroom – although let’s be honest, they are probably in there anyway! Children learn much of their behaviours through watching their parents and caregivers. Explain what you are doing and why you are doing it – eg: “Mummy wears underwear and does her wee in the toilet”. Some children can be scared by the sound of a flushing toilet, explain why you are flushing and even let press the flush button if they show an interest.
  • During the early days to help them get used to the concept of toilet training, it’s a good idea to sit your child on the potty/toilet after you have taken off a wet or dirty nappy. You can even put their poo in the toilet to further reinforce this is where it is meant to go.
  • In the beginning it’s important to encourage your child to sit on the potty/toilet, even if they tell you they don’t need to go. Throughout the day regularly ask them if they need to use the toilet and if not, get them to sit on it anyway. A helpful routine is to sit down on the toilet/potty after breakfast, morning tea, before lunch, before and after nap time and so on.
  • At the start, it may be a cause for celebration if your toddler just sits on the toilet/potty by by himself! Then when they do a wee or poo, praise your child, give them a high five – reinforce the positive behaviour.


Some parents swear by a reward system. You don’t need anything elaborate, a DIY Reward Chart on the Bathroom Door or Fridge can work wonders. Your child will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as they inch closer to their chosen reward.

Once you have made the decision to start toilet training your child – stick with it. It will only confuse them even more if you switch back and forth between nappies and underwear.

Most importantly

Do what works for you! If your child is happy to sit on the potty in front of the TV while watching their favourite cartoon – that’s great! Alternatively if your child completely ignores the potty and prefers to sit on the toilet with their favourite toy – that works too! It’s important to remember you will have set backs and accidents along the way but stay positive and you will get there.

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