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Toilet Training

Your babe/toddler ideally has to be ready. What does that look like?

  • Showing an awareness that they have wet/soiled their nappy. So telling you that they’ve gone, or taking off their nappy when they’ve gone, because it feels yuk.

  • Staying dry for longer periods of time.

  • Hiding when doing a wee or poo in their nappy

  • Waking from naps with a dry nappy

  • Showing an interest in the toilet or when others go to the toilet.


So what to do:


Prepare - get some reading picture books about using the potty. Make sure you are loaded up with heaps of spare undies and clothes. Have a stool so they can climb onto the toilet so they can be independent.


You can practice wearing undies over a nappy for a bit so they get used to putting undies on and off, so they are used to them when you start the process.


You can have them sit on the potty in the bathroom whilst you run the bath, or practice sitting on the toilet if they don’t want to use the potty. They don’t have to do anything - it’s practice.


  • Use simple, clear language. Call anatomy by its “real name” and it’s wees and poos!


  • Pick a time period where you know you have a good few days of no plans and can stay home for most of the day so they aren’t going in and out of nappies if you need to go out.


  • Expect accidents - be calm about this. This is a learning experience. So don’t make too much of a fuss other than to say “oh dear, wees go on the toilet, we’ll try again next time”


  • I suggest not “asking them” if they need to go to the toilet but rather giving them a prewarning that you are going to take them, and then take them. Regular and short visits to the toilet across the day. Don’t make them sit for long periods of time otherwise they likely won’t want to do it.


  • Praise praise praise. For every step of the way. Praise for just sitting on the toilet, praise for telling you they need to go.


  • Make sure when they are on the toilet, they have your full focus if you are in there with them.


  • Keep them in undies so that if they wet , they can feel the discomfort of wet undies - and if they do wet in their undies, say that to the so that the start to associate the feeling of weeing and can start to recognise it before it happens.


  • You can try a rewards chart but for many children , it just doesn’t work as they may be too young to understand what it means. You want this to be a natural process, not one built on bribes.


  • Know that number 2’s often take longer than number 1’2. Keep resisting. If it is too much with the number 2’s, it is ok to relax on that front.


  • Once you start, keep going. Don’t go back and forth on nappies and undies. They do have to be physically and cognitively ready for this process - they work hand in hand.


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