Potty training tips
Learn how to tell when your little one is ready to start potty training with tips for making the process stress-free
At a glance
Follow your toddler’s cues so that they’re aware of a wet or full nappy
Start with nappy free time, and build up to regular visits to the potty
Some little ones don’t like the potty and prefer to use a training seat on the toilet
Be patient and positive and don’t be afraid to stop and try again later
After years of changing nappies, how to potty train is something that parents look forward to with equal parts excitement and fear. Some children take to potties quickly, others take a little time. The trick is not to worry if there are setbacks, as each child is an individual. Approach it with patience and understanding, and you’ll soon see results.
When to start potty training
When to start depends on the individual toddler but most toddlers are ready between the age of two and two and a half. As your toddler grows, they will naturally start to hold it in and tell you they need to go.
- By age one, most toddlers have stopped pooing at night
- By age two, some will start to stay dry during the day
- By age three, most children stay dry during the day – although you should be prepared for the odd accident
But remember every child is different, so look for the signs your child is ready to be toilet trained rather than comparing with others. These are some common signs:
- They might tell you when they have done a wee or a poo in their nappy
- They tell you as they're weeing or pooing in their nappy
- They fidget with their nappy or go somewhere quiet when they need to wee
If they are showing these signs, you may want to begin. But avoid starting potty training at times your toddler may be unsettled, for example, if you are moving house or they have a new brother or sister.
How to start potty training
Toddlers can be fearful of change so start slowly and never push them. And don’t be afraid to pause and try again later if it’s not going well.
- If possible, let them spend some time without their nappy on during the day and keep the potty close at hand
- Start sitting your toddler on the potty without a nappy for a few minutes at regular times each day, such as after breakfast or before bath time
- Don’t force your toddler to sit on the potty if they don’t want to. Or else they can begin to associate the potty with negative feelings
- If they won’t sit still, try giving your toddler a book to look at or a toy to play with to distract them for a bit longer
- Some children dislike using a potty and prefer to use the family toilet with a child’s toilet training seat added
- Praise your toddler whenever they use the potty. Offering your toddler a small reward, such as a sticker, every time they use their potty can also help
- If your toddler has an accident, encourage them to use the potty next time rather than disciplining them for getting it wrong
Every toddler is different and it will take time for your toddler to master using the potty. Try not to lose heart if things aren’t going to plan and remember to take things at your toddler’s pace.