How do I start potty training?

Creating a sense of routine makes toilet training much easier on you and your child.

Mum potty training her child

Get your child used to the potty

  • Note the times your child has a poo. Try leaving their nappy off around those times and see if they want to use the potty.
  • Encourage your child to sit on the potty when they’re likely to need to go, such as after a meal or before bed.
  • Having ‘potty time’ every couple of hours will get your child used to regularly needing a poo or wee.
  • Encourage your child to use the potty if they show or tell you they need a wee. It’s fine to stick to wees until they build up the confidence to do a poo in the potty.

Make the process easier

  • Keep clothing simple – make it easy for your child to pull things up, down or off.
  • Keep it short. Your child usually won’t need more than a couple of minutes on the potty. Leave a few toys close by to keep them engaged.
  • It’s fine for boys to sit down to have a wee. If you want to teach standing up, it can come later.
  • Keep potties around the house, and in each bathroom if you have more than one. Take a potty when you go out, too.
  • Don’t feel you have to switch straight to a potty. Keep using nappies when you go out, at night, or whenever works for you.

Praise, don't punish

Children love praise, and it’s really important in potty training. Give your child lots of encouragement whenever they succeed.

Remember accidents are inevitable, so don’t punish your child. Keep calm and clean up when you need to. Let your child know it’s OK to make mistakes, and that they’ll get the hang of it.

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