A parent’s guide to toilet training

Kinderling News & Features

When it’s time to say bye to nappies, it’s exciting to see your little tike flow into the next stage of their development. But how on earth do you start?

Listener Rhiannon had the same question, and during Kinderling Helpline she asked Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue how to ditch the diapers with her three-year-old daughter.

Chris gives her a suggested timeline for kickstarting the trickly process.

Week 1 – Introduce the toilet

“What I usually do is ‘toilet time’ before I ‘toilet train’,” says Chris. Toddlers don’t really understand what their bodies are doing up until this point, so in the first week simply introduce the toilet.

“Before you bathe her, get a soft toilet insert and a step. While you’re running the bath, sit her on the toilet,” Chris instructs. If she does a wee, then you clap and celebrate. If not, you emphasise it’s okay and that you’ll try again tomorrow.

Week 2 – Increase toilet time

After a week of the toilet at bath time, increase the amount of times you bring them to the toilet.

Chris says this is also about language. Just before you go out, when you’re home playing or about to have dinner, say ‘let’s sit on the toilet before we do this.’ “What you’re looking for in that week is that she maybe does a few more wees in the toilet.”

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Week 3 – Start toilet training

Week three is toilet training. When you get up, you take the nappy off, and put undies on. Leave the bathroom door open all day, but now you change the language you use. Instead say, ‘Tell mummy when you need to go to the toilet.’

Give her gentle reminders before you go out or start an activity by asking, ‘do you need to go to the toilet?’ And if they say no, trust them. Meanwhile, have lots of changes of clothes on hand and if they need to go when you’re out, make sure you’re close to a bathroom.

 “We’re getting her to initiate going to the toilet. Now obviously on the first day or so, she’s going to have some accidents but that helps her realise,” Chris explains.

You may find that your littlie uses night nappies for a little while and that’s okay. “Give her the boundaries, make sure everything is available for her and you’ll find that it will work really well.”