Teaching your toddler to use the toilet is an exciting step for parents. While this task can seem daunting, success can be extremely rewarding. Make sure your toddler is ready to learn and that you are supporting them the whole way through. Some toddlers will learn faster than others, so patience is a must!
When is the right time?There are a number of signs that your toddler might be ready to start toilet training. Every toddler is different so not all signs will apply to each toddler.
Toddlers are likely to be between 18 months and three years old when they recognise the urge to go to the toilet. This is often linked to your toddler’s growing self-awareness. If your toddler can tell you when they’re pooing or weeing, or they can tell you before it happens, then they are ready for toilet training.
While it might seem strange at first, if toddlers express interest in watching parents or siblings use the toilet they might be ready to try using the toilet too. This is often complemented by a sudden dislike of wearing nappies, or your toddler may try to remove the nappy themselves when it needs changing.
How to teach your toddlerBefore you begin teaching your toddler, it is important to speak to them about using the toilet. Tell them they won’t have to wear nappies anymore and let them know to tell you when they need to go to the toilet so that you can help them.
- Clothing – stop using nappies during the day and dress your toddler in clothes that they can easily remove. Pants with elastic waists are ideal rather than buttons or zips. Continue to use nappies when sleeping.
- Timing – don’t force your toddler to sit on the potty or toilet for long periods of time as this feels like punishment. If there is little or no success, don’t give up; just try again in a few weeks.
- Encouragement – remind your toddler throughout the day by asking if they need to use the toilet. Try rewarding your toddler with something small like a sticker and reduce the rewards as your toddler becomes more confident.
- Use a potty first – if your toddler is finding it difficult to make it to the toilet in time, consider using a potty. These can be used in any room in the house and can be taken on trips. This will also help if your toddler is afraid of falling in the toilet.
- Make learning to use the toilet fun – make sure you treat learning to use the toilet as a fun activity and don’t punish your toddler for any accidents. Your toddler will become upset and anxious and this can delay the toilet training process.