Toilet training, or potty training, is an important milestone in a child’s development, but it can also be a challenging process for parents. We understand the struggles that come with toilet training, which is why we want to provide some tips for parents. Read more to find some FAQ and hints and tips to make this a successful transition.

When will my child be ready?

  • On average, most children begin learning to use a potty by around their second birthday but each child is different.
  • Children are able to control their bladder and bowels when they’re physically ready, and when they want to be clean and dry. Every child is different, so it’s best not to compare your child to others.
  • Up to the age of 20 months, toddlers’ bladders empty often, making it difficult for them to master holding on for the loo.
  • Communication is important, your child needs to be able to clearly say when they need to go to the toilet.  This happens between 22 and 36 months.

Some useful facts and figures:

  • Most children can control their bowel before their bladder.
  • By the age of two, some children will be dry during the day. However, this is still quite early.
  • By the age of three, nine out of ten children are dry most days. Even then, all children have the occasional accident, especially when they’re excited, upset or absorbed in something else.
  • By the age of four, most children are reliably dry.
  • By the time children go to school they need to be able to go to the toilet, wash their hands and dress and undress successfully and independently.
  • It usually takes a little longer to be able to stay dry throughout the night.
    • Most children learn this between the ages of three and five but about a quarter of three-year-olds and one in six five-year-olds wet the bed.

Is my child ready?

There are a number of signs that your child is starting to develop bladder control and so may be ready to start trying to use the toilet or potty. They might:

  • Stay dry for a couple of hours each day
  • Take an interest when you, your partner or older siblings go to the toilet
  • Have bowel movements at regular times of the day (for example, after breakfast)
  • Can demonstrate when a bowel movement is taking place (e.g. by squatting or making a grunting sound)
  • Let you know they have a dirty/wet nappy and want to be changed
  • Know when they need to pee, and may say so in advance.

Tips for making toilet training as stress free as possible

  1. Wait until your child is ready

It’s important to wait until your child is ready for toilet training, as forcing them before they’re ready can cause unnecessary stress for everyone! Look out for signs that your child is ready, such as being aware of when they need to go to the toilet, being able to communicate this to you, and showing an interest in the bathroom.

  1. Get your child involved

Involving your child in the toilet training process can help them feel more in control and excited about the process. Letting them pick out their own potty or toilet seat can be a good start. Encourage them to sit on the potty or toilet seat with their clothes on to get comfortable with the idea.

  1. Practice, practice, practice

Toilet training is all about repetition and consistency. Encourage your child to sit on the potty or toilet seat at regular intervals, such as after meals or before bedtime. Praise them for any progress they make, even if it’s just sitting on the potty or toilet seat.

  1. Make it fun

Toilet training doesn’t have to be a chore.  Remember, millions of people have done it before! Make it fun by reading books about toilet training or singing songs while your child sits on the potty.

  1. Be patient

Toilet training can take time, and there will be setbacks along the way. Be patient with your child and don’t get discouraged if they don’t make progress as quickly as you’d like. Remember that every child is different and will learn at their own pace.

Useful Links

  1. When to start toilet training:
  2. Making toilet training fun for your child:
  3. Learn what’s normal toilet training & how to help | Early Years in Mind | Anna Freud Centre