Read the signs. Don’t start toilet training until your child is ready, physically and socially. They need to recognise they need to go before you can even attempt to give it a, well, go! If they’re not there yet, you can still get them interested by doing things like teaching them to wash their hands.
- Becoming aware
Your child may start to show an interest in the toilet or they might start to copy you or their siblings when you head for a wee. They may talk about their friends using the toilet, or notice that others are wearing pants, not nappies.
- Becoming inquisitive
They may start to ask you a LOT of questions about wee, poo, nappies, pants, toilets, potties… Embrace the endless Q&A session!
- Telling you they need to go
Your child may start to tell you they need to wee or poo. That could be through words or gestures. They may start to realise when they have a wet or dirty nappy and want it to be changed.
- Staying dry
Your child purposefully not using or needing their nappy is a good tell that they might be ready to transition to the potty. They should be able to stay dry for at least a couple of hours.
5. Playing it out
Play time, poo time. Your child may start playing games where they sit their toys on the loo, which is a sign of their awareness and significance of going to the toilet.
The 6 different methods for potty training
Is your child showing all the signs? Let’s get started! But where to start? As with everything, there’s no single ‘best’ toilet training method. It’s about finding the right one for both of you. Our advice? Try a few and see what suits you. Ditch any that you don’t like and stick with the one that does!
- The Parent-led Method
This is a gradual method of potty training where you take the lead. Think lots of celebrations and you both taking your time. Charts and stickers are gold when it comes to extra motivation.
- Start by letting them watch you when you use the toilet.
- Go shopping and let them choose their own potty or training seat.
- Set aside time each day for your kid to sit on the potty.
- Encourage them to wee or poo while seated. Celebrate and reward them when they do.
- Once you’ve built up potty time, move onto the toilet with a training seat and step stool.
2. The Bare Bottom Method
Bums out! This method lets your child spend some allocated time each day with that peachy bum free – it’s a no-nappy zone.
- Keep an eye on your kid for signs they need to go (like squirming or holding themselves), then encourage them to sit on the potty.
- Reward your child with cheers and positivity when they successfully wee or poo while seated.
- As they’ll be bare bummed, don’t punish or shame them when accidents happen.
- Gradually increase the time they have their nappy off then eventually swap to underwear or training pants full time.
- Be prepared: this may not be the best approach for all kids.
3. The Child-Led Method
Strong-willed kid? This could be the method for you. Let your child take the lead in deciding when and how to use the potty. They set the pace, not you!
- Wait until your child shows signs of being interested in potty training. They could ask questions and start to show interest in the toilet.
- Encourage and support them, but don’t pressure them to use the potty or toilet. It’s all down to them.
- Celebrate their victories when they use the toilet or potty, but always avoid any shame when (and we don’t mean if) accidents happen.
- This method can take longer, but it can be very effective in the long run.
4. The Scheduled Method
Set regular times where you take your child to the potty or toilet, even if they don’t need to go. Over time they’ll recognise their body signals and head to the bathroom themselves. Like magic, just with toilets!
- Take your child to the potty or toilet at regular intervals throughout the day. It’ll be lots of trips – every 30 minutes to an hour.
- Encourage them to sit for a few minutes each time, even if they don’t need to go.
- Cheer, whoop and keep it positive when they do a poo or wee while seated.
- Gradually increase the time between potty trips as they get into the swing of things.
6 useful tips for potty training your kid
Regardless of which method you land on, here are some general tips for success.
- Dress for success. Wearing the right clothes is always a good shout when toilet training. We’re talking elasticated waisted shorts, jogging bottoms or short dresses. Buttons are not your friend!
- Kids love a reward! Whether it’s a toilet training sticker chart, their favourite snack or a little toy, treats are your friend when toilet training.
- Stay positive and don’t get frustrated. Good vibes are so important, so make your bathroom a negative-free zone and be your child’s biggest cheerleader. As with all parenting, things rarely go smoothly so don’t lose your head. Stay calm and carry on.
- Pick your moment. Knowing when to start toilet training is tough. Avoid starting during periods of change such as moving house or welcoming a new baby to the family.
- Consistency is key. Practice makes perfect! Follow the same routine to make it easier for your child to pick it up.
- Use the potty training app from Andrex! Intended to make potty training fun for both parents and children, the app is a interactive book designed for pre-school kids as young as 3 years old where the kid becomes the teacher as they show Bunny and the Andrex puppy the steps involved in going to the bathroom. You can download the app for iPhone here and Android here.