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How To Toilet-Train Your Early Years

Did you know?

From about 18 months old, toddlers start to become aware of when they have a wet or soiled nappy and begin to recognise the sensation of urinating, or the need to do so.

Usually it’s advised to follow the child’s caregiver for when to encourage toilet training. However, if you notice that a child is showing clear signs of being ready, it may be time for a chat with their family to discuss initiating the process. Similarly, if it gets to April or May before the child moves up into Reception, you might want to push for toilet training to start so they’re more prepared for school.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
  • Look for the signs. Fidgeting, walking in an odd fashion or going somewhere quiet or hidden are all signs that a child feels like they are about to go to the toilet. If they are toilet training, help them get to the bathroom. If they aren’t yet, mention it to their family at home time.
  • Have set toilet times within your setting. This helps children get into a routine and have regular times when they can “try”, even if they feel they don’t need to go.
  • Be regular. At the beginning of toilet training make sure you’re asking the child often if they need to go. Aim for every half-hour, then for every hour once they start to get the hang of it.
  • Be prepared. You are going to be cleaning up a lot of accidents while the children learn.
  • Make it a team effort. Children may enjoy going to the toilet more if they go with friends. Encourage them to buddy up to make it a more fun experience.
  • Be consistent. Some children may have reward charts or other incentives at home. If this is the case, encourage families to bring them into the setting so you can carry on with the same incentivising through the day.
  • Be patient. One day you’ll suddenly notice that a child hasn’t had an accident in a couple of weeks and realise they’ve got it!
  • Don’t force it. Sometimes families feel pressure to make sure their child “keeps up” with their classmates, or because toilet training seems to take a while. Reassure them that every child needs to go at their own pace. Their child may just not be ready yet. Encourage them to take a break and try again in a few months. Trying to force it could cause negative connotations which will make it harder for the child to learn.

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