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Health Facts

General Health


Toddlers & Children




Toilet Training

The task of toilet training is one that often causes a degree of anxiety among parents and carers of toddlers.
It is a complicated skill and the process must be carried out in a very supportive manor.

Facts to remember:

  • Before commencing toilet training your child must demonstrate the physical ability to control their bladder and bowel movements. It can be a long process before they are able to develop conscious control and the occasional accident can occur even in young school aged children.
  • The readiness both physically and psychologically is not complete until the child reaches the age of 18 - 24 months. This is when the child is aware of the ability to control the body and please the parent.
  • Imposing your will and insisting on co-operation before the child is ready will not make the process of toilet training happen any faster.
  • As with all millstones sin childhood there is a wide range of "normal". The average age of commencing toilet training (i.e. the reasonably successful transition from a nappy to regular underwear but not necessarily with complete daytime control) is 2.4 years.
  • Bowel training is usually accomplished before bladder training. This is because it is more regular and predictable.
  • Nighttime training of urination may not be complete until the ages of 4-5 years - sometimes longer.
  • Reducing the child's fluid intake before bed or waking them at midnight to use the toilet may decrease bed-wetting but it will not teach the child conscious or voluntary control.

Helpful hints:

  • Limit practice sessions to 5 - 10 minutes and stay with the child until he or she is confident.
  • Don't forget to train the child in hand washing techniques also
  • Praise the child for co-operative behavior and/or if a successful outcome is achieved.
  • Avoid showing any signs of disappointment
  • Dress children in easily removable clothing.
  • It is helpful to tell the child that when they feel the urge to urinate or have their bowels open that they need to allow enough time to get to the toilet.
  • Gentle reminders are useful as children become engrossed in their activities and often wait until it is too late to get to the toilet.
  • If the child says "no" don't try to insist or persuade them. The aim is to help them take charge of themselves.
  • Take extra pairs of dry pants when going out and be aware of the location of toilets in shops and public places.
  • Most importantly - go easy on yourself and your child. Try not to compare them with siblings and friends. Remember they are all individuals.

It may not happen overnight but it will happen!