Potty Training

How to know when to start:


Lots of parents think about potty training from when their child is 18 months.  At this age some children may show signs that they are becoming more aware that they have a full nappy, and you might even find your toddler tells you they need a wee. For other children this will happen later, between 18 months and 2 and a half years.

Look out for fidgeting, for a different walk or possibly your child going somewhere quiet or hidden. These can all be signs that your little one is aware they are passing urine or opening their bowels. As time goes by, they will be able to recognise the feeling before passing urine or opening their bowels, and with your encouragement they will be able to tell you, with enough time to get to the potty or toilet.

Praise your child as much as you can, and never tell them off if they have an ‘accident’, or don’t make it to the potty on time.

It’s good to remember that usually children take longer to learn and become dry at night. The majority of children will become dry at night by the time they are between 3 and 5 years of age. Approximately 1 in 5 children at age 5 still wet the bed.


Top Tips

Make sure your little one has plenty to drink this will ensure they get the feeling of a full bladder.

Don’t limit intake of fluids to try and ensure your child is dry.


Try to keep to regular meal times, this will help to establish a regular time in the day when your  child want to have a poo.


Keep an eye out for constipation, this might be a sign that your child isn’t drinking enough during the day.


Put your child in sensible clothing. Clothes that are easy to remove make potty training a lot easier.


It’s much easier for your child to understand phrases like ‘Do you want the loo’ or ‘its time for a wee’ rather than – ‘Do you need to go to the toilet’.

Don’t let your child sit on the loo for too long.

Boys should sit down on the potty before as its often easier for them to begin with. They can learn to use the toilet standing up later on.

Be consistent – if your relatives are looking after your child whilst they are in the process of potty training make sure they know your routines.

Give lots of praise.

Be patient.

To try the potty first thing in the morning and before bed time.

When you first start potty training to offer potty every 30 minutes and after meal times.

Never make a fuss over accidents.

If you don’t see any progress, or your child is very reluctant to start potty training leave it a couple of months and try again.

Support and Resources

You can find lots of resources on the ERIC website and  NHS Choices.  If you need further support from your Health Visiting Team please contact us.