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Teddy bear and green potty inside of domestic bathroom
By keiki

A Guide to Toilet Training your Child

In this article, we will discuss how to recognise the signs of your child being ready for toilet training from around 18 months, the three steps of toileting, and how to work with your childcare provider for support and consistency. Above all else, it’s important to stay calm and remain patient throughout this exciting step for your child, as successful toilet training can take some time!

When will my child be ready for toilet training?

Children generally show signs of being ready for toilet training around two years of age, however some will show signs a little earlier at around eighteen months and others older than two. This is an important stage in your child’s development and a real indicator of your child becoming more independent. It is important to recognise the signs early as continuous use of a nappy or pull up can become an embedded habit for some children.

Signs to look out for

Some signs of being ready for toileting are when your child is;

  • They are becoming interested in watching others go to the toilet
  • Having dry nappies for up to two hours – this shows your child can store wee in his bladder
  • Beginning to dislike wearing a nappy, perhaps trying to pull it off when it’s wet or soiled
  • Indicating with words or gestures that they have done a wee or poo.

Stages of toileting

Stage one: role play

Toileting is another new experience for your child. They need lots of opportunities to find out more and it may be a case of trial and error before they are successful.

Your child may want to try sitting on the toilet with their clothes on, want to go in with you when you go to the toilet, or pretend play with teddies and dollies sitting them on a potty and using paper and nappies. This play and exploration stage is important and allows your child to become familiar with toilet use before they are actually ready to try toileting themselves.

Stage two: practice

Stage two is all about practice using the potty or toilet (using a toilet seat insert can also help). In this stage your child will build up their skills and understand the steps of toileting. Children will be curious and will observe others going to the toilet to support their learning. If they get distressed as you try to sit them on the toilet don’t push the issue, stay calm and say let’s try another time.

You can also ask your child if they would like to try at times of the day you feel they are most likely to want to wee or poo. Let your child try to take off their pants and nappy but be there to assist.

Stage three: learning and independence

During toileting children are learning more about their body signs and being ready for a wee or poo, this is a big early development learning curve. There may initially be lots of accidents, however it’s important to keep encouraging all attempts and stay calm. Children will tend to gain control of their bladder sooner than their bowel so will often accomplish going for a wee on the toilet first.

To help, ask your child to try to go to the toilet before you go out, remind your child to just let you know if they need to go wee or poo, and prompt your child to go to the toilet when you are out and invite them to try whenever you go.

At the time it can feel like toilet training is going on forever but your child will get there and become independent in their toileting. However they cannot do it without your guiding support and positive encouragement. They also rely on you to see those early signs of toilet training capacity and provide access to the resources they will need.

Toilet training hints and tips

Some helpful tips for and resources for your child’s toilet training journey are below:

  • Have a potty, pull ups and toilet paper that your child can role play with
  • Use books as they are great way to introduce children to new experiences, ‘I want my Potty’ by John Ross and ‘Pirate Pete Potty’ by Ladybird books are two great books to try.
  • Have a potty in the bathroom or toilet
  • A toilet step can help children to be more independent getting on the toilet
  • Have a toilet training poster on the toilet wall or door

Transitioning to kindy or school

With the exemption of children who may have a specific health care need that impacts on their toileting ability, many schools will not accept children who are not yet toileted. Although occasional accidents are to be expected it is in every child’s best interest to be confident in their toileting prior to going to school.

Working together to support early toileting

At Keiki Early Learning we recognise every child is different and will find success in toileting in their own time. Our goal is to ensure all children develop independent toileting skills as part of their developmental journey.

We work in partnership with families to support children on their toileting training journey. We believe open communication is key to ensure your child is receiving the same supportive message and even language in both day care and home environments. We will discuss daily routines with you and identify when we are seeing signs they want to try on the toilet, providing lots of ongoing support and positive encouragement. We encourage the use of pull ups once your child is regularly trying on the toilet, moving on to wearing only underpants when they are confident. If you have any questions or are concerned about your child’s toileting journey, please contact us to speak to our experienced educators at any time.