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  • Lauren Romeo

Toilet Training - Tips and Tricks

When should you start?

Toilet training typically starts at around 2 years old, however this may change for different children. Here are some signs to look out for that may indicate that your child is ready to start toilet training:

  • Your child wants to watch you in the toilet

  • Your child’s nappy stays dry for 2 hours

  • Your child does not want to wear a nappy

  • Your child takes their nappy off when they have done wee or poo

  • Your child communicates with you they are doing wee or poo

  • Your child is able to sit on the toilet for 2 minutes

Getting prepared:

  • Let your child watch you in the toilet

  • Explain what you are doing

  • Show the child how to flush the toilet

Ensure that the environment is set up for your child. They may need a special toilet seat and a foot stool. This equipment helps them to sit on the toilet safely. Toilet insertion seats, potty chairs or toilet frames are different types of special toilet seats. Use the seat and footstool at home each time your child sits on the toilet.

At nappy change time:

Take their nappy off and sit them on the toilet. At first, they may only sit for a few seconds. Trial giving your child a toy to help them sit longer on the toilet, and keep this toy only for the toilet. You want your child to sit happily on the toilet for 2 minutes.

Before you put your child into underpants:

Pick the day you will start toilet training. Your child should be able to sit on the toilet for 2 minutes. They need to sit 3 or 4 times during the day.

Tell your child what is going to happen:

  • Wee and poo are now to be done in the toilet

  • No nappies during the day

  • Nappy is only for night time just before bed

Be prepared for accidents with wee and poo by:

  • Having 6 pairs of clean underpants each day

  • Having wipes in the bathroom

  • Having clean clothes in the bathroom

  • Always doing the same routine

When your child wets or poos in their pants, it is important to not make a fuss. Take them to the toilet, remove their wet clothes, clean their bottom, put on clean clothes and take them back to what they were doing before.

Teaching your child to use the toilet for wee and poo:

Dress your child in clothes that are easy to pull up and down. Pull up pants, shorts or skirts with stretchy waists are great for this step. Take your child to the toilet every 2 hours.

Say to your child 'Toilet time’ and remind them of each step:

  • Pants down

  • Sit on toilet

  • Wee/poo in toilet

  • Wipe

  • Pull up pants

  • Flush toilet

  • Wash hands

Let them sit for up to 2 minutes but no longer. For the first 2-3 days, stay home to get the routine in place. Keep to the routine until your child is doing wee in the toilet.

Using toilets when you are out:

Do not stop going out because of your toilet training routine. It is important for your child to use lots of different toilets. Make sure to take your child's special toilet seat out with you. Use the parent room toilets or the disabled toilets when you can.

Teaching your child to wipe their bottom:

Make sure your child can reach the toilet paper. Place your hand over theirs at first to teach them the motor pattern. Keep helping them until they get the hang of it. Visuals (like the ones below) may also be beneficial in teaching the steps of wiping.

Please talk to your Occupational Therapist if you require further support with your child for toilet training.


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