Toilet Talk: what’s the best age to start toilet training?

By Step by Step Consulting

What’s the best age to start toilet training? In short, there is no magic number. Typically children are ready for toilet training anywhere between the ages of 2 and 4. Some children may be ready earlier and others later. There is no denying that many of us are guilty of using school holidays or a few days off work as a start and finish line of when we are going to complete toilet training. Putting this expectation and pressure on yourself and your child will only lead to a stressful toilet training journey.

As there is no set age or time of year to begin toilet training, we like to take a child led approach and look at toilet readiness signs instead. This will guide you on when your child might be ready to lose the pull ups and start toilet training! It will also help set your little one up for success! It’s a win, win for you and your child!

It’s not necessary for your child to show all of the following signs, but if they are showing some, they may be ready to begin. Keep an eye out for:
  • Discomfort when their pull up is soiled or wet. Your child might tug at their nappy, whip their nappy off or waddle when they are soiled or wet.
  • Less wet nappies or pull ups throughout the day may be a sign that your child is holding urine for a longer period. Your child might even begin to have dry pulls ups after naps.
  • An interest in the toilet either through play or peeking in at you while you are going to the toilet. Curiosity around what happens in the toilet.
  • A way of communicating their needs or wants. This can be through using words, pictures, signs or pointing.
  • Can comfortably sit on the toilet for 2-3 minutes without becoming upset or distressed. This is key for toilet training. Lots of kids have a fear around the toilet and so this is often our starting point with toilet training. Take it slow and go with your child’s comfort levels.
  • Can do some dressing such as pull up or pull down trousers. If your child can’t do this yet, but is showing other readiness signs this can be taught throughout toilet training.

In an ideal world, a child led approach is the road we will take. However, there are times when we need to speed up the process and combine both a parent and child led approach. This may be due to external pressures such as school expectations or your child getting older and a want to give them this independence. Either way, you know your child best, trust them and your gut on when to start.

There is no shame in needing support, we have met many parents and kids who are just burnt out and stressed from the toileting journey. It usually just takes that extra little bit of guidance to get back on the right path. As always, our approach is child-centred and so we will assess your child’s toileting routine in detail and develop a toilet training plan that suits them, your family and your lifestyle.

For more information on our toilet training support, please email us on or call us on 0852737466.