Establishing a Toddler Toilet Routine

Consistency Is the Key

Just like with naptime, bedtime and other toddler routines, you'll want to achieve consistency and establish a toilet training routine. It sets clear boundaries and guidelines for your toddler to follow and will help to make things a little easier for them.

If you start out saying it's OK to wee in the pot plants then you will need to break this habit further down the track, so think about how you would like to approach toilet training your toddler well in advance so you can have an action plan ready when ever your toddler shows signs of readiness.

The 4 Musts

Child development expert, Dr. Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett has 4 musts for toilet training. Keep these in mind and you're headed for toilet training success!

Let your child set the pace

Trust your child, and let them set the pace. Don t try to force them to learn too fast. Support them with the encouragement and positive feedback they need.

Be Positive

When accidents do arise, which they inevitably will, say you'll do better next time or don t worry about the accident, we'll get it right soon to keep building confidence and encourage those big kid feelings.

Be Consistent

Avoid mixed signals. Switching back and forth to nappies is confusing to a child. Once you make the switch to training pants, stick with it. Wearing training pants makes your child feel like a big girl or big boy .

Be Patient

There will be accidents! But mistakes are what we learn from. There may be times when your child seems like they are regressing. Don t get discouraged this is perfectly normal. Be confident that things will be back on track in no time.

Stop! It's Potty Time

Successful toilet training occurs when your child can identify the physical urge to use the bathroom. Up until this point, a potty routine is necessary and will help your child get into the swing of things. Try the following schedule at first and then let your child run the show once they get the hang of it. It's a good idea to take your child to the potty at the following times to help them get into a routine:

  • When they wake up
  • An hour after a big drink
  • Before naps
  • After naps
  • Before meals
  • Before bed
  • If they wake up in the middle of the night

Weeing on demand isn t easy for any of us, so if they're having trouble getting started, try reading to them while they're on the potty to help them relax, or run the tap (it's hard to not want to wee when you hear the sound of running water!). If they really don t need to go, that's fine, too. Simply ask them if they need to wee a couple of times before your next scheduled stop.

Communicate with Carers

Make sure that everyone who cares for your child is aware of the consistency of your approach to your toddler's toilet training and that they are willing to join in.

Don t forget to let them know which rewards and tools you are using so they can do the same. If your toddler is toilet training while in childcare it's probably worth discussing your toilet training consistency strategy with them prior to making a start, so that you can be sure that you can both deliver the same routine.

Once you have made the transition from nappies to training pants it's important to maintain consistency and not return to nappies during the day other wise this can be very confusing for your toddler.

Establishing a toilet training routine will help to reinforce each behaviour, until your toddler becomes a Big Kid and can do most of the steps by themselves.

Consistency While Out and About

Taking your toilet training routine out and about with you can present a few challenges. Try to maintain as much consistency as you can with your home routine but be willing to make some concessions. We have plenty of toilet training tips for you to use when you are out and about.

There Will be Toilet Training Setbacks

Even though you're doing your best to achieve consistency, the toilet training progress can still be inconsistent.

Don t despair! There will be good days and not-so-good days. Remain calm and positive. There is nothing to be gained by losing your temper.

Even after your child is trained, significant events like the birth of a sibling, moving or holidays can cause setbacks. Regression is normal. Just take them in your stride and maintain consistency with a positive approach. It may not happen overnight but it will happen!

For more information see Toilet Training Tips or How to Start Toilet Training.

16/09/21 - min Read

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