Toilet Training Your Child
If you are having any symptoms or have any questions, please call 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day.
When should I start toilet training my child?
Do not start toilet training until both you and your child are ready. You are ready when you are able to devote the time and energy necessary to encourage your child on a daily.
Signs that your child is ready include the following:
- Your child signals that their diaper is wet or soiled.
- Your child seems interested in the toilet.
- Your child says that they would like to go to the toilet.
- Your child understands and follows basic instructions.
- Your child feels uncomfortable if their diaper is wet or soiled.
- Your child stays dry for periods of 2 hours or longer during the day.
- Your child wakes up from naps with a dry diaper.
- Your child can pull their pants down and then up again.
You may start noticing these signs when your child is 18 to 24 months of age. However, it is not uncommon for a child to still be in diapers at 2 and a half to 3 years of age.
How should I prepare my child for toilet training?
Allow your child to be present when you go to the bathroom and make your child feel comfortable in the bathroom. Allow your child to see urine and bowel movements in the toilet. Let your child practice flushing the toilet.
Get an adapter seat for your toilet and sturdy footstool. Your child’s feet should rest on the stool while they are sitting on the toilet.
Allow your child to observe, touch and become familiar with the toilet.
Allow your child to sit fully clothed on the adapter seat on the toilet wearing their clothes. Allow your child to leave the toilet at any time. Do not force your child to spend time sitting on the toilet.
After your child has become used to the adapter seat and sits on it regularly with their clothes on, try having your child sit on the seat without wearing pants and a diaper. Let your child become comfortable with sitting on the toilet without wearing pants and a diaper.
The next step is to show your child how the toilet is used. Place stool from a dirty diaper into the toilet. Let your child flush the toilet and watch the bowel movement disappear down the toilet.
How do I teach my child to use the toilet?
After your child has become comfortable with flushing sitting on the toilet, you may begin teaching your child to go to the bathroom. Keep your child in loose, easily removable pants.
Place your child on the toilet whenever they signal the need to go to the bathroom. Your child’s facial expression may change when they feel the need to urinate or to have a bowel movement. Your child may stop any activity they are engaged in when they feel the need to go to the bathroom.
Most children have a bowel movement once a day, usually within an hour after eating. Most children urinate within an hour after having a large drink.
In addition to watching for signals that your child needs to urinate or have a bowel movement, place your child on the toilet at regular intervals. This may be as often as every 1 and a half to 2 hours.
Stay with your child when they are on the toilet. Reading or talking to your child when they are sitting on the toilet may help your child relax. Praise your child when they go to the bathroom in the toilet, but do not express disappointment if your child does not urinate or have a bowel movement in the toilet. Be patient with your child.
What about training pants?
Healthcare providers disagree about whether to use disposable training pants. Some think that training pants may confuse children and make them think it is okay to use them like diapers. This may slow the toilet training process. Others think training pants may be a helpful step when you are training your child. Sometimes, training pants are used at nighttime, when it is more difficult for a child to control their bladder.
What if my child has an accident?
Your child may have an occasional accident even after they learn how to use the toilet. Sometimes, children get too involved in activities and forget that they need to use the bathroom. Suggesting regular trips to the bathroom may help prevent some accidents.
If your child does have an accident, stay calm. Do not punish your child. Simply change your child and continue to encourage your child to use the toilet.
How long will it take to toilet train my child?
Every child is different. It may take as long as 3 to 6 months for your child to be toilet trained during daytime. It may take longer to teach your child to use the toilet during nighttime when their bladder control is reduced. It is important for you to be patient and supportive. If after a few months, your child is still resisting or having difficulties with toilet training, contact your healthcare provider. The most likely reason your child has not learned to use the toilet is that your child is not yet ready for toilet training.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Loving Care: 1 to 3 Years: