Toilet training is a big step for both mum and toddler. Be prepared and most importantly stay positive and calm.

The secret that many parents share is to wait for signs that your child is ready to begin this new journey. Don’t pressure your child or it will be an endless battle.

Some children show signs of being ready as early as 12-18 months, and some might be older than two years. There is no right time!

Your child is showing signs of being ready if he:

  • is walking and can sit for short periods of time
  • is becoming generally more independent when it comes to completing tasks, including saying ‘no’ more often
  • is becoming interested in watching others go to the toilet – this can make you uncomfortable, but it’s a good way to introduce things
  • has dry nappies for up to two hours – this shows he can store wee in his bladder (which automatically empties in younger babies or newborns)
  • tells you with words or gestures when he does a poo or wee in his nappy – if he can tell you before it happens, he’s ready for toilet training
  • begins to dislike wearing a nappy, perhaps trying to pull it off when it’s wet or soiled
  • has regular, soft, formed bowel movements
  • can pull his pants up and down

We asked our MoM members what they wish they knew before starting toilet training.  Read their helpful tips below.

Sarah recommends that you don’t start too early!

“If they are developmentally and physically ready it’s so much easier. If they aren’t, it won’t be. Let your child take the lead. When they are ready they will let you know.

Be prepared for accidents and make them no big deal. Otherwise they might develop feeling nervous about the process and this won’t help things to function naturally!

If you start and it isn’t working and you feel like you wish you’d waited, don’t be afraid to stop and put nappies back on! Sometimes their brain is ready, but body isn’t.”

Tammy suggested that you sit the potty in front of the TV to get them used to it.

“Then start to move it, further and further back, right into the bathroom. Also buy the toilet book with the sticker charts.”

Lucy had some great advice and said you should never push your child.

“My two have both been majorly stubborn but have chosen when they wanted to start. Miss nearly 4 wasn’t interested until a couple of weeks ago but now she takes herself to the toilet puts her seat with step & goes for it. So far only one accident she loves her sticker chart.

With everything else she’s ahead same as her older sister, just stubborn. But she wants a new bed & ottoman stool so the deal is get toilet trained & we will buy them. Exactly the same deal we made with her sister & they are 18months apart.”

Megs said, “Don’t rush it. Let the child take the lead. Leave the potty in the bathroom so it’s accessible for when they are ready to try.

Reward charts with stickers even for attempts.

My son was 3yrs 2months, and he lead the entire way. Best advice I had was from an older lady who had 4 kids, and that was, “there’s no rush, wait, it’s too stressful otherwise.”

Holly’s wise words included, “Wait until they’re ready. All kids are different and will be ready in their own time.”

“Be prepared to model how to use the toilet haha. You probably already have an audience with you anyway though.

If you can, try and teach wiping their own bum at the same time. It makes things so much easier down the track, especially when they start Kindy.

A rewards chart with stickers or an immediate reward like a lolly from their own special lolly jar is a great incentive to go and try. We offer 2 skittles for a wee, 3 if she gets up and takes herself without a reminder, and 4 for a poo, but apparently we’re generous haha.”

Some great advice. Thanks MoM’s for sharing!

What advice would you offer?

Share your comments below

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  • When my youngest was about 10 months old he’d take his nappy off and sit on the potty. He never did anything but he would do this whenever someone went to the toilet. After a week or two he started using the potty properly. He was so pleased with himself. I believe the child will let you know when he wants to start using the potty. Just be prepared for little accidents.


  • Just take it one step at a time.


  • Having more than one child makes the younger ones want to grow up and be as big as their elder siblings, I found. My kids also hated wet nappies on them, so they pretty much trained themselves around 18 months. No pull up pants in my day, just cloth napkins.


  • Our kids are all different. My boy was significantly later trained. I struggle with the toilet training of my youngest, she’s 4 yrs old and has Down Syndrome. She struggles to release herself on the toilet and still uses the potty. This is of course not handy in preparation for school. She also struggles to release herself at once, resulting she has an accident 10 minutes after she has used the toilet/potty. Next she has to go to school in pull ups, I’m afraid that the kids will make fun of her !


  • I read an article about a child where the interior garage door accidentally got left open. The little boy used the cat’s litter tray to do number 2s.


  • my son has just turned 4 and is only understanding the toilet now, still have trouble with number twos but he is getting there


  • It needs to be when it best suits your family as you’re all in this together. No stress, no rush. We made a decision to pretty much stay at home for a week to work it through. Luckily, it happened fairly easily for us based on that.


  • All good tips. And remember that it does end – they eventually potty train!


  • The only thing I disliked with raising my children. Such a stressful time. I realised by child no 2 and 3 (twins) that you have to wait till they are ready as they are all ready in different stages. My twins too forever to be ready whereby my 4th child was ready by 18 months and was dry at night too! (and the only boy, hey, aren’t boys supposed to be harder?)


  • Potty training is one of the trickiest stages to manage.


  • My son was so easy, he was day time dry at 20 months and night time dry not long after, with only the occasional accident. My daughter used to watch us go to the toilet and decided to try it for herself at around 15 months. Not child seat on the toilet, she just climbed up. I heard her call out and there she she was, bum right in the toilet. Feet and arms just out if the top. Was such a funny sight. Was quite a while before she tried again. Ppl ask me how I did it, what tricks I used etc, and I just font remember :/


  • Very great tips. I had a small toilet ladder chair and that gave also much confidence to my daughter. Exactly this one


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