Skip to main content

Toilet training can be a tricky thing. When do you start? Do you start with a potty or go straight to a normal-sized toilet? When can they start wearing undies? There is no right or wrong way to potty train your child and there are various ways to go about it.

Signs they are ready

One thing to remember is that not all kids are ready at the same age, but there are a few signs that indicate they are ready to start toilet training.

Makes the connection – Once they make the connection between the urge to pee or poo and using the potty.

Pulls down their pants – If they can pull down their pants on their own, this is another good indication.

Shows an interest in toilet training – They may start to make comments about wanting to use the toilet or wanting to wear underpants.

Time to start

Toilet training isn’t an overnight task (if only it was). It generally takes between three to six months, but every child is different, and some may take less time or more time.

First, be prepared with either a potty or a step for your toilet and smaller seat that fits securely inside the existing toilet seat (some children feel uneasy about falling in). Also, have on hand plenty of clean underpants (or pull-ups). Sit your child on the potty or toilet when they get up in the morning, straight after a meal or snack and after their afternoon nap. If your child is showing cues of needing to go potty, such as crossing their legs or squatting, take them to the toilet too. You may notice a regular pattern of when they need to “go”. Timing is key!

During the toilet training process, avoid clothing that is hard for your child to take off, such as overalls or rompers. Make sure all caregivers, such as grandparents, babysitters or childcare staff know that you’re in the process of toilet training so they can use the same approaches to avoid confusing the child.

When it comes to bedwetting, remember that it is a normal part of childhood and will take longer for your child to get under control.

It’s important to stay positive and patient throughout the process. Reading books together about toilet training and providing small rewards such as stickers can help the process along. Praise any achievements, no matter how small, and ignore behaviour you don’t want.

When accidents happen (and they probably will), don’t make a big deal out of them. It’s normal for toilet training to regress a little, and your child will be back on track before you know it. If things get a little too stressful, it’s okay to take a break from toilet training.


Toilet Training Is as Easy as One, Two…Wee! – Head to and check out Episode 35 of the PakMag Parents Podcast with Dr Justin Coulson from Happy Families sharing his top tips on toilet-training children, and busting some myths on the topic. Dr Justin Coulson has a PhD in Psychology, is a best-selling author of six books and father to six daughters. Justin writes and speaks about parenting and family – because nothing matters more