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Tips for Toilet Training


What do I need to know about toilet training my child?

Toilet training should start only when your child is ready. Each child is different in terms of when they are ready to learn. Your child may be ready to learn any time between 18 to 24 months of age, or older. The amount of time it takes to toilet train is also different for each child. Toilet training may take 3 to 6 months. You will need to be ready to devote the time and effort needed to train your child every day.

How do I know when my child is ready for toilet training?

Your child may be ready if he shows the following signs:

  • Stays dry for up to 2 hours or longer during the day
  • Wakes up from naps with a dry diaper
  • Is able to follow directions
  • Is able to pull his pants down and up again
  • Is able to sit still on the toilet
  • Feels uncomfortable when his diaper is wet or soiled and tells you he needs to be changed
  • Is aware of his urges to urinate or have a bowel movement
  • Shows an interest in using a potty or the toilet

How do I prepare my child for toilet training?

  • Let your child be present when you go to the bathroom. Show him how you sit on the toilet. Talk to him about what you are doing and have words to express the act of going to the toilet.
  • Buy a potty chair or an over-the-toilet seat and step stool. Let your child choose which he would like to use, and let him pick it out at the store.
  • Let your child get used to the potty chair or over-the-toilet seat by having him sit on it with his diaper on or off. Show him how the potty is used by putting a bowel movement from his diaper into the potty chair. Allow him to put the bowel movement into the toilet and flush it.

How do I toilet train my child?

  • Keep your child in loose pants that are easy to pull down. This will make it easier to quickly place him on the potty chair or toilet if he shows that he needs to go.
  • Watch for signs that your child needs to use the potty or toilet. His facial expressions may change or he may stop an activity he is doing. Your child may need to have a bowel movement within an hour after he eats, or urinate within an hour after he drinks liquids.
  • Place your child on the potty or toilet at regular times. Try placing him on the potty or toilet every 1 to 2 hours. Some boys may need to learn how to urinate in the toilet by sitting down at first.
  • Stay with your child while he is on the potty or toilet. You may be able to help your child relax by reading or talking to him.
  • Be patient. Praise your child if he urinates or has a bowel movement. Do not show disappointment or get upset if he does not use it. Children are motivated by praise.
  • Talk to your child's caregivers about your child's toilet training plan. This may include child care providers, grandparents, or babysitters. Ask them to follow the same routine you are using.

What else do I need to know about toilet training?

  • Talk to your child's healthcare provider if he is having trouble learning after a few months. Your child may not be ready for toilet training. You may need to take a break and try toilet training later when your child is ready. He may have physical problems that are making it hard for him to learn. Examples include constipation, an infection, or bladder problems.
  • Your child may still have accidents after he has been toilet trained. Children may be busy playing or doing an activity and forget to use the toilet when they need it. You may need to regularly remind your child to go to the bathroom. Do not get upset or punish your child if he has an accident. Change your child and ask him to help clean up.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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