Toilet training your child can sometimes get frustrating. It is important to take it slow and be patient. Every child is different, so it's best not to compare your child with others.1

Signs indicating that your child is ready2

  • When their nappies are dry for up to 2 hours.
  • Lets you know that they have soiled/wet their nappy.
  • When they begin to dislike wet or soiled nappy and they try to pull it off.
  • When they have soft, regular, formed bowels.
  • Can follow simple instructions.

Getting ready for toilet training2

When your child shows the above signs of being ready, the first step is deciding to train using a potty or the toilet.

Potty is familiar; some children find it less scary than a toilet. If your child prefers the toilet, you will need a smaller seat that fits securely inside the existing toilet seat.

The best time to plan toilet training is when you don't have any big changes coming up in your family life such as vacation, moving house, starting daycare, etc. it is better to plan toilet training well before or after these changes.

Tips for getting ready: 1,2

  • Teach your child some words for going to the toilet – for example, 'wee', 'poo' and 'I need to go'.
  • Try and familiarize your child by making them sit on the potty or the small toilet seat.
  • Let your child watch you using the toilet and talk about what you're doing.
  • Make your child wear trainer pants to help them understand the feeling of wetness.
  • Make your child use the toilet after meals.
  • Use books or toys to play to help your child sit still.
  • If they regularly do a poo at the same time each day, leave their nappy off and suggest that they use the toilet.
  • Include plenty of fibre and water in your child's diet so that they are not constipated.

Toilet training may take days, weeks or months. Do not push your child. Let them learn at their own pace. 2

If your child doesn't co-operate, take a break and try again after a few days. 2

Night-time potty training1

You child should be potty trained during the day before you start leaving their nappy off at night.

If you find your child's nappy dry or only slightly damp when they wake up in the morning, they may be ready for night-time toilet training. Make them use the toilet just before going to bed. Accidents might happen, use waterproof sheets to protect your mattresses.

Accidents while toilet training2

Learning to use the toilet takes time. Accidents happen – these are all just part of the process. Here are ideas to help avoid accidents:

  • If your child says they want to use the toilet, take them right away.
  • Remind your child to use the toilet if they haven't gone for a while.
  • Before leaving the house, check if your child wants to use the toilet. Even if they don't, that's fine.
  • Always make sure the toilet is easy to get to and use.
  • Ask your child to wee just before going to bed.

If an accident happens, reassure your that it doesn't matter and there's no need to worry.


  1. How to potty train [Internet]. Available from Accessed on 1st March 2020.
  2. Toilet training: a practical guide [Internet]. Available from Accessed on 1st March 2020