When the best to start potty training? I've had friends who started potty training early and had a hard time of it and also had friends who waited too long (just before kindy). From a professional standpoint, what is the view on the most effective time to start for a girl? My bub is 18 months. First time Mum, Mount Louisa

This is certainly one of the most asked about topics from parents.  In my opinion most children are ready between 18 months and 3 years of age.  This is developmentally:  their body is ready to signal and hold and emotionally: to learn and keen to move to the next stage.  Of course there is the exceptions either side of this however, that concept of being toilet trained by 2 years?  Throw it out the window.  It is more likely to be between 2 – 3 years.

Remember it is not a competition and certainly not a sign of your childs intelligence if they are ready early or later.  It’s also not a measure of your success at parenting.  It’s all to do with them and their body and their readiness.

Get it wrong and start too early – then you end up putting more pressure on your toddler and the whole process of training will take a year or longer.  How long should it take?  That depends, but the promises of ‘toilet train in a day’  or ‘toilet train in a week’ are outside the norm.  Expect several months to a six months to know that your child is dry during the day.

Is your child Ready? How young is too young?

If in doubt please WAIT.

Starting too early can lead to lack of motivation to your child, they can stop and start, you too can lose your enthusiasm and it can take a long, long time.  If it is at the right time it will only take months.

AVOID starting because

  • Grandma is pressuring you to
  • All your friends are doing it
  • It’s holiday time
  • You have pressure from childcare to do so
  • You want to save money on nappies
  • You are over the nappy changes and cleaning up
  • This is the age you were toilet trained

 It’s best WHEN

  • Your child is interested in the toilet
  • The weather is warm
  • There are NO major changes in your life
      • Not moving house
      • Not having another baby
      • Grandma isn’t visiting
  • Your child notices before, during or after the fact that a poo or wee is coming out
  • Your child is keen and WANTS to become independent
  • Your child lets you know that they are wet or have done a poo in their nappy
  • Your child asks to go to the toilet…

If your child is indicating they are ready, then take their cue and just start, there will never be a perfect time and their keenness is a great sign to start.

upcoming workshops toilet training

Nicole Pierotti

Written by Nicole Pierotti

© Copyright 2012. No reprinting or publishing without permission from writer. For permission or further information contact nicole@babysmiles.com.au.

One Response to Q&A: Best time to start toilet training

  1. Kristy Hudson says:

    My 32month old is toilet trained during the day. Last week she had 5 dry nights in a row so I decided to put her in undies for night time sleep. She has been in undies the last 4 nights and has had 2 nights dry and accidents the other 2 nights. She now refuses to wear pull ups at night because she wants to wear undies. Do I keep persevering with the undies until she learns not to pee the bed?? I was thinking about waking her for a “dream wee” Do you have any thoughts or suggestions??

    Thanks Kristy

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