It is important for children to feel comfortable and confident in being able to use the toilet before going to school.
Typical developmental milestones.
By age 1, most babies have stopped doing poos at night
By age 2, some children will be dry during the day, but this is still quite early. In the 2 year old provision, nappy changing can be required by some children
By age 3, 9 out of 10 children are dry most days – even then, all children have the odd accident, especially when they're excited, upset or absorbed in something else .In the 3-5 Year old provision, children should bring a change of clothes.
By age 4, most children are reliably dry during the day.
Toilet Training Tips
1. When you’re ready to get going, start the day off by encouraging your little one to sit on the potty before or after breakfast.
2. You could put the potty in the bathroom and sit on the toilet yourself to show your child how it’s done.
3. Give your child lots of praise as you go through toilet training together.
Your little one needs lots of gentle encouragement and praise, as well as regular reminders to use the potty throughout the day.
4. Consistency is vital so it’s a good idea to have a few quiet days at home in the early days of toilet training. If you do have to go out, take the potty with you as it’s important to keep the momentum going. Your child will become confused if you put them in a nappy for convenience, sending a mixed message that it’s okay to ‘wee’ or ‘poo’ in their nappy sometimes.
5. Encourage your child to sit on the potty after each meal. Even if they don’t do anything it’s a good way to encourage bowel movement as digestion is followed by a natural reflex to go to the toilet. Sitting quietly on the potty, perhaps with a book to look at, is a good way to get children used to going on the potty to do a poo.
6. Some children prefer to use the toilet instead of a potty. The principles are the same.
It’s important to wait until your child is dry during the day before attempting night-time toilet training. Remember that night-time bladder control may take quite a bit longer to achieve, so be patient and wait until your child is truly ready for this next step (i.e. when your child is dry for several consecutive nights).
If toilet training isn’t going well and you and your child are getting frustrated, try not to worry. Leave it for another month and try again, taking it more slowly and perhaps use an incentive such as a reward chart. Your health visitor can help with common problems.
Potty training with a child with SEND
Some children with a long-term illness or disability find it more difficult to learn to use a potty or toilet. This can be challenging for them and for you, but it's important not to avoid potty training for too long.
The charity Contact has a parents' guide on potty training with a disabled child (PDF, 763kb). Visit the Contact website for further support and ways of getting in touch with other parents with a disabled child.
You can contact ERIC, The Children's Bowel and Bladder Charity, for information on potty training.