Making the change from nappies to normal underwear is a big step in your child’s life, and it’s natural for them (and you) to feel anxious about it. This guide is full of tried and tested advice which will help take away those worries and make the process as smooth as possible.

Spot the signs

It can sometimes be difficult knowing when to start toilet training, but there are several indicators you can look for, such as your child telling you when they’re doing something in their nappy, asking you to change them, keeping their nappy dry for hours at a time and showing interest in the toilet.

House ready

Getting your home prepared beforehand can make a big difference. Buy the essentials such as a toilet training seat and a step, and cover your furniture to protect it from accidents.

Choose your words

Decide beforehand what you’re going to call body parts and waste products, remembering friends, teachers and others are likely to hear these words. Make sure you don’t use negative words such as ‘dirty’ or ‘stinky’ so you don’t make your child feel ashamed or anxious.

Dress code

It’s important to dress your child in normal underwear, so if they have an accident they’ll feel uncomfortable, which will hopefully incentivise them to use the toilet next time.

You should also put them in clothes with an elastic waistband – time is of the essence when the moment comes and you don’t want to be fiddling with tricky fasteners! Of course, if you’re at home it’s often easier to let your child run around with no trousers, it saves on the washing and makes it easier for them to identify what’s going on.

Show some good examples

Research shows the best way to teach is to have role models demonstrate the behaviour. Show them toddler-friendly toilet training videos online and read them stories about children learning to use the toilet. You can even roleplay with one of their dolls, showing them going through the steps of toilet training so your child will want to imitate them.

Make it fun

You’re likely to have far more success if your child enjoys the process. Give them small rewards for achievements such as sitting on the toilet. Use a sticker chart to mark progress. Boys respond well to having something to aim for in the toilet such as Cheerios or a ping pong ball.

Team work

You’re not alone. Talk to everyone who takes care of your child. Make sure everyone’s on the same page so they can help you, and lessen any confusion for your child.

Top priority

Once you start toilet training it should have your complete focus, so make sure you have the emotional and physical energy to commit to it. Consistency is the key to quick progress.

Pointers from Parents

‘We took Maya to the toilet every hour even if she did not need to go.’

‘Once you take the nappy off, keep it off and only use it at night time.’

‘We took Muaz directly to the toilet. We did not use a potty. It took about two weeks!’

‘We changed Tahmina’s nappy by the toilet. We put her poo in the toilet then she started using the toilet.’

Last updated August 25, 2022