Mother potty training her little daughter

Toilet Training/Potty Training

When to start

Around 18 months to two years, toddlers start to become aware of body sensations, and usually say things like “Mummy, wee!” or stop what they’re doing and stand and hold their nappy. When they do this, you know your child is ready to start toilet training. It’s easier to start in summer – there are less clothes to take off and less to get wet and dirty.

Closeup cute little 12 months old baby on potty

Before starting

  • Let your child learn about the toilet by taking them to the bathroom with you. Talk to them about what you’re doing and let them flush the toilet.
  • Make sure your toilet at home is ‘toddler friendly.’ Toilets seem very high when you are little and sometimes they get frightened of falling into the big toilet.
  • Buy the necessary equipment and involve your child in the selection. Leave the items in the bathroom so your child gets used to them. There are several options: a potty chair, a child’s removable toilet seat with a step stool, or an all-in-one toilet trainer seat with steps.

Be consistent once you start. Take them to the toilet or try the potty regularly throughout the day.

How to do it

  • During the day, put them in a pair of undies or trainer pants.
  • Be consistent once you start. Take them to the toilet or try the potty regularly throughout the day. e.g. after meals or before they sleep.
  • When you start, try to organise a few days at home so it won’t matter so much if there’s an accident.
  • When you’re going out, find out in advance where the toilets are, and take them to the toilet when they’d normally go at home. Always take a spare pair of pants and a change of clothing.
  • Praise the success and try to ignore the failures – just clean up with a minimum of fuss.
  • For day sleeps, and at night, continue to put on their nappy until it remains dry for a few weeks.
Woman teaching baby how to poop on toilet


  • If they won’t co-operate, don’t make it into a power struggle – it’s a learning experience. You may need to stop and start again in a few months.
  • Be patient – some children take longer than others. It could take until the age of 3 years to gain control, and maybe up to 5 years before they can sleep without a nappy.
  • Don’t start before they’re ready. If you start too early it will take much longer and be more frustrating.

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