Developmentally, a child will be ready to toilet train from between the ages of 18 months and three years… they’ll probably exhibit signs of readiness, which helps eliminate the guesswork.

What is the right age or best time to start toilet training?

A child needs to be between the ages of 18 months and three years before they have the necessary development to recognise the urge to go to the toilet.

But the best time to start toilet training is when your child shows signs that they are ready:

  • When your child is able to tell you that they’re pooing or weeing while they’re doing it or can tell you straight after.
  • If they can tell you before it happens, they are definitely ready for toilet
  • Leaves the room or finds a quiet place to wee or poo in their nappy.
  • They start taking their nappy off.
  • Tries to sit on the toilet.
  • Stays dry for at least 2 hours at a time, or after naps.

How do I encourage my child to use the potty or toilet?

  • Give rewards to your child such as a sticker chart, a treat, or an activity they enjoy.
  • Try to make toileting part of your child’s regular daily routine. For example, encourage your child to use the potty or toilet in the morning, and before or after snacks and meals.
  • Encourage your child to go to the toilet when they show signs like wriggling around, passing wind, going quiet or moving away from you.
  • Sing potty training songs.
  • Give your child a doll to potty train.
  • Read potty training books.
  • Let your child wear underwear over their nappy for a while.
  • Use pull-ups so that they can go to the toilet frequently throughout the day.
  • Make it fun!

Should toilet training be started at Kindergarten or should it start at home first?

It’s good to start toilet training at home as a child generally feels more comfortable with their parents. However, they will often notice their peers using the toilet at Kindergarten and may follow their behaviour.

What if they have accidents?

  • Praise every little success and remain calm about accidents.
  • Assure them it is okay to have accidents. Be casual about accidents; take an “Oh well, it doesn’t matter” attitude.

What kind of books can we read to help children?

Books that have clear, big, and bright pictures with simple instructions and lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement.

How long does it take a child to toilet train?

Every child’s development is different, so each will take their own time. If you have any concerns about toilet training, seek more information from your doctor or paediatrician.