Toilet training tips

The toilet training process will work best if you're patient and understanding about any little accidents that occur.
The toilet training process will work best if you're patient and understanding about any little accidents that occur. 

Like everything, toilet training is as complex or as simple as you make it. While some things will come to you as second nature, and others will come over time, there are plenty of things to keep stored in the back of your head when it's time to help your little one make that big transition.

  • Both training on a plastic potty and the toilet has its advantages. The potty is portable, but the toilet represents the bigger picture so training on the toilet has its definite strengths. A combination of both can work, and either way, you can encourage your child to use them. With a potty, give your child a sense of ownership and their inclination to use it will grow. With the toilet, you'll likely need a step-up for them, and every time they use it, you'll have the opportunity to tell them how fast they're growing.
  • When you first stop using nappies, do it slowly. Do it for a few hours on a given day, and increase it as yours and your child's confidence increases. Have them use real underpants as soon as you can, but only when you're happy with their new routine.
  • Don't expect miracles to happen literally overnight! It's normal for you to toilet train your child in the day first ... the night time toilet training will happen later, often much later.
  • Children associate not just the feeling of weeing, but seeing it. This may even be more true when it comes to boys. After they've become accustomed to seeing themselves wee, toilet training will become easier as they'll understand where those puddles are coming from. This is easier in summer (as it will inevitably happen after running around naked!) but is also something you can help happen in other times of the year. If you have access to the great outdoors, some boys will also like to wee on trees.
  • Boys also have more of a tendency to run off after using the toilet. Toilet training is the perfect opportunity to make sure you associate hygiene with the bathroom, so make full use of it!
  • Once your little one shows signs of needing to go, be encouraging and make sure you don't put them off. By doing this fast, you help them act naturally on their instincts.
  • Don't be forceful or angry when speaking with your child about toilet training. Results will come more quickly when the environment is positive. Similarly, don't make them feel embarrassed if they have wet themselves either at home or in public.
  • Some children literally forget about going to the toilet. A key area of toilet training is to develop their way of thinking so they're conscious of going when they need to, as well as taking advantage of toilets when they're available. Always remember to encourage them to go when you leave the house or are about to go on a car drive, as well as randomly asking whether they need to go or not. As time goes on, you'll be able to taper this off as you try and balance it with them becoming more independent with their toilet habits.
  • Don't be shy to give praise when your child has used the toilet. Tell them, in no uncertain terms, how grown up and clever they are.
  • Dress them in clothes that are easy to get off.
  • Your child's diet is very important, and this is especially true when it comes to their digestive systems. A healthy child who eats high fibre food will be more regular than other children, and there will be a marked difference in their toilet habits as a result.
  • If nothing seems to be happening while they're on the toilet, encouraging them to relax may help things. While this concept can be a bit tricky, it's a case of trial and error. Getting them to flick through a favourite picture book might be a good start.
  • Don't have them wipe themselves early on. Concentrate on having them use the toilet regularly before you add that challenge!

Need more tips or have your own advice to share? Discuss toilet training with Essential Baby members.

Once your little one shows signs of needing to go, be encouraging and make sure that you don’t put them off.