Potty Training Guidelines

  • The first sign that your toddler is ready to become toilet trained, is when she begins to show awareness of what is happening either before or after a bowel movement. She may understand and say words such as “poo”, “wee” or “toilet”, squirm and touch her bottom, or may stop what she is doing.  This generally occurs around 18 months of age.

  • Let her accompany you to the toilet from an early age, so that she can get used to the idea, and learn from watching you – this will take the mystery and fear out of this new idea. Always tell her, “Mommy is having a wee”. Invite her to tear off the toilet paper for you, and help you flush.

  • If you have a son, ask your husband to invite him to accompany him to the toilet. This way, he will learn that boys do it differently to girls. Place a piece of toilet paper in the bowl and show him how to aim at the paper. If he prefers to sit down to pass urine, reassure him that it is fine and try to avoid putting pressure on him to do it ‘the right way’.

  • Teach your daughter how to wipe from front to back, and your son to wait till the drips stop.

  • Invest in a toilet seat with an inner and a built in step and hand rail.  This way, your toddler will be able to sit comfortably on the toilet and will always have her feet on a firm surface as well as having something to hold onto.

  • If your toddler is younger than 26–28 months in winter, delay toilet training until the weather improves.

  • At home, leave the nappy off and remind her frequently about going to the toilet in a relaxed and friendly manner.  Be prepared to go with her to the bathroom each time.

  • Don’t stress about “accidents” on the floor. She will eventually connect the “puddle” with the feeling that she needs to go to the toilet and will tell you she needs to go.

  • Don’t worry if your toddler still asks for a nappy to make a number two – this is normal, and won’t last forever.


Ann Richardson

Sr Ann Richardson RN RM

Private Nurse Practitioner

Author and Parent Coach

Lonehill, Johannesburg

Tel: 011 465 3480/8



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