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Potty training guide


You may have found yourself thinking that this time at home presents an ideal opportunity to start the potty training process with your child. Here’s our guide to thinking about if your child is ready to start and some top tips to get you started.

Things to consider about starting potty training

  • Has your child’s acquired the basic communication skills to show or tell you that they need to go to the toilet, or that they need a fresh nappy?
  • Are your child’s nappies dry for more than an hour at a time?
  • Your child’s age, children usually start potty training anywhere between 18 months and 3 years of age
  • Your child needs to be physically ready, they need to be able to sit themselves on the potty and be able to stand up when they’ve finished.

Top tips

  • Get them accustomed to the idea gradually – have a potty available in the bathroom where your child can see it, read books about potty training and use their dolls or toys to explain what it’s for.
  • Talk openly about wee and poo, tell your child if their nappy is wet or dry.
  • Allow your child to see you going to the toilet and normalise this for them.
  • Change your child’s nappy in the bathroom, so your child starts to learn that this is where toileting happens.
  • Make sure the potty or toilet has suitable foot support so your child can sit with their feet flat and their knees above their hips
  • Make sure that everyone who spends time with your child is aligned in a consistent approach.
  • Make the jump from nappies to pants in one step, doing it in stages and/or mixing nappies/pull-ups and pants can be very confusing.
  • Initially carry on using nappies for naps and evening sleeps.
  • Once they start potty training, take your child to the toilet regularly, but not constantly. In particular, encourage them to go to the toilet around 20-30 minutes after meals.
  • Dress your child in clothes that are easy to pull up and down and always have plenty of spare clothes on hand.
  • Lots of praise and encouragement is key, accidents are to be expected and try not to make too big a deal of accidents, just carry on supporting your child whilst they crack it!
  • There’s no need to rush taking nappies away during sleep times, but when you’ve noticed they are often dry and feel ready for this, explain and agree that the sleep time nappies are going.


As with all things children do things at different times and in different ways. ERIC, The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity, is an excellent source of further support for potty training and all things bowel and bladder related.