How do I prepare my child for potty training?

Tackle potty training in stages to help you and your child get ready and feel relaxed about the process.

Introduce the potty

  • Leave the potty where your child can see it, and explain what it’s for (you can involve them in picking a potty so they know it’s theirs).
  • See if they’re happy to sit on the potty and try it out for size, perhaps after a nappy change.
  • Read picture books together about potty training.
  • Seeing an older sibling use the potty can be helpful – children love to copy.
  • Practise potty time. Take turns sitting your child’s toys on the potty.

Make it feel natural

Talk about wee and poo while changing their nappy. Tell them when their nappy is wet or dry, and explain what this means. Change nappies in the bathroom so your child associates the room with doing a wee or poo.

Involve your child with flushing the toilet or washing their hands after a nappy change. Ask family members to leave the door open while they’re using the toilet so your child can see it’s normal.

Make it positive. Give lots of praise when they flush the toilet, wash their hands or dress themselves after a nappy change.

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This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers provided by the charity, Action for Children. You can talk to our parenting coaches online using our 1:1 chat.

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