Your Guide to Toilet Training

Helping children learn to use the potty or toilet is a big and exciting step for parents and educators alike. It is a huge milestone for any child but is not achieved without some difficulty. We’ve developed a list of 5 key areas to consider when embarking on toilet training to help make it easier for children to transition into using the toilet!

Signs your child is ready

Children often start showing signs that they are ready for toilet training from as early as 18 – 24 months. A few things to look out for when determining if your child is ready include:

  • If they are walking and able to sit for short periods
  • Becoming generally more independent when completing various tasks
  • Able to follow simple instructions
  • Saying ‘no’ more often
  • Becoming interested in watching others go to the toilet
  • Has dry nappies for up to two hours
  • Begins to dislike wearing nappies
  • Ability to pull pants up and down
  • Signalling you with words or hand gestures that they have done a wee or poo in their nappy

Please note that not all these signs need to be present at once when to determine if your child is ready. If there is a trend with a few of the above signs, it may be time to start considering toilet training. Overall, if your child can tell you that they need to wee or poo before it happens then generally, they are ready for toilet training. 

Before you get started

If you think your child is showing signs of being ready for toilet training here are few points to consider before you get started:

  • Timing: You should plan toilet training on a day when you have no plans to leave the house and no big events or changes like holidays, starting daycare, moving houses or introducing a newborn to the family. This is so children can easily get into a routine without any big disruptions to their schedule and your schedule.
  • Potty Vs. Toilet: Decide whether you want to train your child to use the potty or to use the toilet. Often parents encourage their child to use both, however, the success is all dependent on your child’s preference and how easily they take to one or the other.
  • Items/Equipment: Ensure you have all the required equipment before you get started. Below is a list of some of the essential you may want to have before commencing training:
  • Potty Chair: If you are choosing to potty train, you will need a potty chair. Potty Chairs are stand-alone chairs designed in all shapes and colours and familiar cartoon characters. A potty chair is less intimidating and will be easier for your child to use as it is smaller than your everyday toilet. It can also be moved around the house if needed.
  • Seat Reducer and Step Stool: A seat reducer sits on top of a traditional toilet seat and reduces the gap to a child-friendly size meaning children won’t be able to fall in. It is often cheaper than a potty chair, but may also be more intimidating given its size. Please keep in mind that using a seat reducer will occupy one of your toilets for a set period of time. To combat this, try looking for a seat reducer that is easy to put on and take off.
  • Training Pants and Pull-Ups: Pull-ups and training pants are similar to nappies though not as absorbent. They are useful for holding in bigger messes like accidental poos and their purpose is to let your child feel the wetness, similar to standard underwear, however, the liquid is contained and doesn’t spill onto clothes.

Other you may want to consider before you embark on toilet training include:

  • Extra Sheets and Waterproof Mattress Protector: Have two or three fitted sheets and mattress protectors on standby as accidents tend to happen during the night. Some parents often make the bed with several layers of sheets and protectors to save time in the middle of the night.

Getting Started

When your child is ready to officially start toilet training, following the three steps below to kick start the transition process:

  • Shift from Nappies to Pull Ups: Start by using pull-ups daily and only use nappies for day time and night time sleeps. Eventually, you will be able to stop using nappies for sleep altogether, however, to avoid big accidents in the early stages, it is best to keep them for now. Once your child is wearing pull-ups or training pants, you may want to ensure they are clothed in items that are easy to take off quickly.
  • Signs and Timing: If you notice your child is using the toilet/potty regularly during a specific time of the day, try seating them on the toilet 10 minutes before this to see if anything will pass. It is important that if nothing happens to take them off, or they may get restless and avoid using the potty/ toilet altogether. Throughout the day, lookout for signs that your child needs to go to the toilet like changes in posture, passing wind, going quiet or moving to a different room by themselves. 
  • Encouragement and Reminders: At different stages of the day, ask your child if they need to go to the toilet. This must be done as gentle reminders so your child doesn’t feel annoyed or pressured. When they have used the toilet/potty successful, giving them praise and acknowledge their achievement. This will encourage them to want to go next time and eventually continue to go independently out of habit.

Overcoming setbacks

Accidents and set backs are all part of the learning process. If your child gets upset because of an accident, the best thing to do is provide reassurance and that there’s no need to worry. Here are a few ideas to help avoid accidents:

  • Pay attention to your child’s toilet needs. When they say they need to use the toilet straight away, that may be exactly what they mean.
  • Bring a spare change of clothes and underpants when out and about
  • If your child hasn’t been to the toilet in a while, remind them to go as they may be too preoccupied and forget which by this stage can be too late.
  • Check to see if your child wants to go to the toilet before and after an outing or long car trips.
  • Try to make sure the potty or toilet is always easy to get to and use.
  • Ask your child to use the toilet before going to bed.

Overall, toilet training is no small feat. The key to success is to stay positive, even if things aren’t going to plan – because your child will eventually get there. Too much tension or stress can lead to negative feelings and might result in your child avoiding going to the toilet altogether, and who knows, they may even be ready to tackle this next step even before you’ve considered it an option!

At Bliss Early Learning, we help your child transition and prepare for toilet training by looking out for the signs. We work with parents to ensure we stick to a routine when your child is ready to start toilet training. For more information about how we help your child transition from nappies, speak to our support team on 1300 717 777 or email