Toddler Toilet Training – Ten Top Tips

Having just emerged from my own experience of toilet training, I would like to offer my ten tips which worked for me. My child trained relatively quickly, so these tips are a basis to start from. You may need to read further if a child in your care is finding the process challenging.

Use these tips yourself or as a child care worker, use them to support the advice you give to parents on toilet training.

1. Wait Until the Child is Showing Signs…and then wait some more! Unless your circumstances make you in a hurry to toilet train your child (such as a baby on the way or the financial burden of nappies) what’s the hurry? There seems to be a pressure amongst Mum’s groups as to who can have their child toilet trained the earliest. In my experience as both a mother and an early childhood teacher, the later children train, often the faster they train. Children who are trained early can (and I emphasise can, and not will) tend to take a little longer for their muscles to mature and may be more inclined to accidents.

2. Watch For Signs that the Child is Ready to Train. Some signs include “hiding” when filling their nappy, having a dry nappy for extended periods and then filling it in one go, talking about toilet habits, being aware of others toileting, bowels movements that are predictable to a degree, and they can pull their pants up and down.

3. Wait Until the Weather is Warmer – where possible. Warm weather means your toddler can run around both indoors and outdoors in just undies. This makes for just one quick layer to be pulled down in the rush to the potty, and if accidents happen then they are more likely to be outdoors, and this makes for a much less stressed carer.

4. Prepare The Child for Potty Training. There are a number of books written about toilet training, and by reading these to children, they begin to associate with either a toilet or a potty. Talk about potty training; go out and buy the potty or special toilet seat and the new big undies with the child so they sense excitement about the whole process. You can even role play with teddies or dolls the potty process.

5. Make the Potty Area Exciting. If a potty area is inviting with books, reward stickers and special potty time toys, they are more likely to stay and wait to do their business.

6. Set the Child Up For Success. Give the child a large drink, and sit them on the potty about half and hour to 45 minutes later. Stay with them and read or play until the wee comes through. This allows the child to have success and shows them what the process is all about. Give them praise and encouragement when the process is successful.

7. Place the Potty Near the Child Playing. When first toilet training, once the child has identified the wee coming through, time is critical. Have the potty close to where they are playing to allow quick access.

8. Prepare the Environment for Potty Training. The aim of the process is to have it as relaxed as possible. If you are concerned about furniture or rugs, roll up your rugs and have children sit on plastic chairs. Children will sense if you are upset about furniture or carpets being soiled and this will become a negative experience.

9. Motivate the Child. In the case of my daughter, she was well and truly ready to toilet train and just needed motivating. This can be as simple as stickers or stamps. For my child, we had sticker charts where she would earn her way to a special toy. This got her in the rhythm of toileting and we slowly removed the motivators to simple praise and encouragement.

10. Keep Your Cool. I had no idea how tiring toilet training could be. Being constantly on the look out for signs of needing to go, constantly asking my child, wore me out! Set up the rest of your schedule to be simple (for parents this may include a week of easy meals and not many outings) so that you have enough energy to keep your cool.

Cassandra Eccleston is a dedicated and experienced childcare professional and writes for Onsite Early Childhood Training who produce cutting edge Child Care Staff Training by DVD. You can visit our website for more free resources, downloads, forums and information on child development and the latest childcare staff training available.