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Can you really toilet train a child in three days?

May 3, 2019

There are as many myths and old wives tales surrounding toilet training as there are cold remedies. In this article, we’ll provide you with some toilet training readiness facts, based on clinical research and on our expertise as physiotherapists and continence therapists.

Hopefully these facts will help get your expectations on the right track so you aren’t confused by the wide-ranging stories and information that can surround toilet training.

Every child is unique and, with encouragement, will learn to use the toilet in their own time.

Children need to be ready:

  • physically
  • mentally
  • and attitudinally

Before they can take on toilet training.
While there may be some amazing stories of children who toilet trained themselves, or went to Grandma’s for the night and came back toilet trained, most children will take months and months to master the knack of understanding what their bodies are telling them and of getting the toileting sequence in the right order.

What are the signs of toilet training readiness?

  • Has your child developed the skills to walk?
  • Do they have enough balance to sit on the toilet or potty themselves?
  • Can they tell you when they need to go or are they starting to use some toileting words?
  • Is your child starting to develop more independence in other areas?
  • Is your child aware of what is going on when they wee or poo?
  • Is your child interested in toileting?
  • Is your child showing a dislike towards nappies?

You might like to make a start if some of the above are in place, however if your child doesn’t have the attention span to sit on the potty or toilet for longer than 10 seconds, you may need to wait a bit longer.

Tips to remember:

  • You can start on a potty or a toilet, however if you can use a toilet seat insert on top of a toilet, you will have less cleaning (versus a potty) and possibly fewer transition challenges.
  • Age is not the best factor to decide if your child is ready to start toilet training.
  • If you start too early, the journey may be longer.
  • Don’t ever punish or get angry or upset at your child for having accidents – accidents are a normal part of toilet learning.
  • Remember to reward your child’s correct toileting behaviour, not just wees and poos.
  • While your child is showing typical signs of development, they will get the hang of using the toilet in their own time.

Need more help?

Mars Clinic has launched a new online program to help parents feel prepared and confident to toilet train their child.

FREE: Download our 'Ready for Launch' Checklist

Is your child ready? Use our free checklist to find out.

  • Easy to follow checklist outlining key signs of readiness
  • Feel confident that your child is ready and know the areas in which they might need extra help