The R+F Blog

When to start toilet training

When to start toilet training

Getting started with toilet training

Moving on from the potty

Toilet training is simply the next step up from potty training – that is, using the actual toilet instead of a potty. While every child is different, most are ready to start the toilet training process between 20 months and three years old.

Let’s discuss the signs you can look out for, which indicate your little one may be ready to start toilet training. We’ll also cover toilet training tips and how to handle mishaps.

Signs your child is ready:

  • Your child can feel when they are wet or dry, and will sometimes tell you.
  • Your child is starting to do things on their own without your help.
  • They feel like they want to wee and can hold on long enough to make it to the toilet.

How to start toilet training

Even if your child shows signs of being ready, they may still be nervous about using the toilet and it will take some time to adjust. Encourage them by being positive, calm and patient.

Get started with these toilet training tips:

  • Calm their nerves about using the toilet by showing them how it works. You can start by emptying their potty into the toilet and letting them flush it so they become familiar with the motions and sounds.
  • A step stool and toilet training seat are great additions to keep your little one safe and comfortable.
  • Introduce nappy pants or underpants so they can undress themselves.
  • If possible, you may want to ditch the layers so your child has fewer items to remove when they need to go. Not only does this reduce their chances of having accidents, but it gives them a sense of independence.
  • Take your child to the toilet at regular times. Give them enough time to try to go, but don’t leave them there for too long.
  • Praise your child for trying, even when they don’t succeed. Reward them with hugs, claps, stories or a star chart.
  • Be prepared for times when they don’t make it to the toilet. Involve them in the cleaning process and talk through ways they can improve next time.
  • Teach them how to wash their hands after going to the toilet, and make the sink, soap and hand towel within their reach.

How to handle mishaps

Bed wetting:

It’s one thing to master daytime potty or toilet training, but staying dry overnight is another learning process. 

It can take some time for toddlers to sense that their bladder is full or hold their urine overnight. In fact, most children’s systems don’t develop enough to stay dry all night until at least age 5, 6 or even 7. Bed wetting through to age 7 is considered normal and not a problem to worry about.

Once toilet trained, it’s normal for your toddler to be dry during the day but still need a nappy at night. Rascal + Friends premium nappy pants make change-time easier with easy-tear sides and an extra stretchy waistband. They’re easy to pull up, like underpants, and are a great transition from a nappy to underpants. Also made for potty training, our premium nappy pants are made with up to 12 hour leak protection and will keep your jumping junior comfy and dry, day and night. 

Learn more and find the right size

What to do if your child starts wetting their pants again:

If you’ve successfully gone through the toilet training process and your child starts to wet their pants again, don’t give up. There are a number of reasons as to why they’ve taken a step back, such as:

  • Adapting to a new environment, such as a new house or being on holiday
  • Experiencing the birth of a sibling
  • Transitioning from a crib to a bed
  • Being weaned from breastfeeding
  • Starting at daycare or preschool
  • Not making it to the toilet several times and feeling discouraged

While this can be a bit frustrating, remember that they are also adapting to a new routine. The experience will be different for each child, and ultimately you want to build their confidence and independence.

Try approach the situation with these tips in mind: 

  • Try to understand what caused their change in behaviour
  • Change your child in a calm manner, and encourage them to explain what went wrong
  • Remind your child to go to the toilet – busy kids can often forget!
  • Introduce fun incentives around the topic of going to the toilet, such as choosing the toilet paper or hand soap at the shops or a sticker chart
  • Talk about the toilet in casual conversation, such as when you’re going to the toilet throughout the day

Remember, it takes time!

Every child will be different and the real secret behind successful toilet training is waiting until they’re ready. There’s no deadline, so try not get too caught up in the timing of it all.

Keep it fun, positive and enjoy watching them take another step in their growth and independence!

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