Toilet training

Its amazing the topics we start to read about as parents. This week toilet training is a topic of conversation in our house. Fortunately, or unfortunately our youngest child has parents and siblings offering him guidance and bribery to master this skill. It was not on my agenda to start toilet training in the midst of winter but I had no choice as our little man decided that he wouldn't keep a nappy on…. I resisted for a few days and then thought let’s embrace this and see how we go.

Today’s blog outlines the research and also some lessons I have learnt along the way around toilet training. When discussing this with a friend recently she asked me what I thought about an article she read about starting toilet training at two weeks of age. I felt starting as a newborn could be stretching it a bit far and I will explain this later in the blog. There is not a universal right age to start toilet training and there is no timeline for completion. On average girls are developmentally ready to start toilet training about two to three months earlier than boys.

The human body is incredible, the way that is develops and matures over the first few years of life. This plays a pivotal role in the developmental milestones our children reach. Typically, a child can show interest in toilet training from 18 months of age but they may not have the skills until they are closer to two years of age. The skills I am referring to in to toilet training is myelination. In simple terms myelination is the process of forming myelin sheath (protective layer) around a nerve to allow nerve messages to travel more efficiently.  Myelination of the spinal cord needs to occur before your toddler can achieve control of their bowel and bladder. How amazing is this? We cannot rush the process. This is why I do not feel starting toilet training at two weeks of age is going to achieve results. An interesting read though. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before starting.  

Your toddler

  • Have a dry nappy for around two hours
  • Regular bowel motions
  • Walk, sit and squat
  • Dress and undress themselves
  • Ability to sit still for a few minutes
  • Curious of siblings/parent’s toilet habits
  • Expressing willingness to please parent


  • Recognition of child’s enthusiasm
  • Ability to invest time and effort into mastering new skill
  • Minimal family interruptions and stress

Now that you have identified that your little one is ready, there is no better time to start than now. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

A few tips

  1. A ‘potty’ allows your child to feel secure, otherwise encourage your toddler to sit on a toilet backwards as they will feel more secure.
  2. From the beginning practice the ritual you want them to do every time… eg Washing hands every time.
  3. There needs to be lots of praise, high 5’s, excitement, enthusiasm for trying
  4. Don’t make them sit on the toilet forever... a few minutes at a time is great.

One final comment is regression or more accidents than normal often coincides with increased family ‘stressors’ or the child is being pushed too hard too early. That’s okay you can put a nappy back on for a month or so and try again. There are no hard and fast rules, just follow the lead of your little one. 

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