Both parents and practitioners were keen that our toolkit had information and links about toilet training. Coming out of nappies can be quite an emotional experience for both parent and child. Children develop at different times and while one child will be showing signs that they are ready to start the process, others will take a bit longer.
Health Visitor, South Somerset
Most parents think about potty training with their toddler after about 18 months or as he approaches his second birthday but, like most milestones in childhood, there are no absolutes. Every child develops at a different pace and it’s more important to look out for the following signs that he’s ready to potty train rather than his age:
Toilet training is usually fastest if your child is at the last stage before you start the training. If you start earlier, be prepared for a lot of accidents as your child learns. They also need to be able to sit on the potty and get up from it when they’re done, and follow your instructions.
Using a potty will be new to your child, so get them used to the idea gradually. It’s usually easier if boys start by sitting on the potty before they switch to standing up later on.
Talk about your child's nappy changes as you do them, so they understand wee and poo and what a wet nappy means. If you always change their nappy in the bathroom when you're at home, they will learn that's the place where people go to the loo. Helping you flush the toilet and wash their hands is also a good idea.
Leave a potty where your child can see it and explain what it's for. Children learn by watching and copying. If you've got an older child, your younger child may see them using it, which will be a great help. It helps to let your child see you using the toilet and explain what you're doing. Using your child's toys to show what the potty is for can also help.
You could see if your child is happy to sit on the potty for a moment, just to get used to it, when you're changing their nappy, especially when you're getting them dressed for the day or ready for bed at night.
If you have any concerns about your child's toilet training you can contact your health visitor or make an appointment to see your GP.
For further advice about toilet training go to: www.eric.org.uk or download the toilet training checklist: