Toilet training – Where do we start?

Toilet training is a big step for both toddlers and their parents. All children become interested in, and ready to toilet train at their own pace. If your child is showing signs of being ready, here are a few tips to try to get things set up to start:


  • First decide if you want to use a potty or the toilet. Some children have a definite preference, others are fine to use both. Talk with your child about the use of the toilet or potty.
  • If using a potty, you and your child can choose a spot where to put it where it is within easy reach of main play areas as well as somewhat private.
  • Teach your child some words associated with toileting such as “wee” and “poo”, “potty”, “toilet” so they are able to express their needs verbally.
  • Some kids like to go out and buy their new “big kid” underwear with an adult. Wearing this underwear can also be an incentive to use the toilet or potty rather than soil their new pants. Training pants are also useful as they can be pulled up and down rather than secured like nappies.
  • Think about potential rewards for toilet training efforts. It may seem like an insignificant regular event to adults, but even sitting on a toilet or potty for a brief period is a big achievement for our little ones. Praise and encouragement, affection, high fives, thumbs up are all rewarding for kids in addition to material rewards such as stickers and small toys.

Some children can show an interest and seem motivated to start, then change their minds. This is ok – they will get it when they are ready. Try not to put pressure on your child. If there are other additional stressors that may be affecting your child, such as starting a new daycare, moving house, family tensions, parent returning to work, medical issues, or other unexpected events, it may help to talk with a psychologist to address these first before pushing on with toilet training.