Top tips on potty training


Here are some top tips on how to know if a child is ready for potty training:

  • They become aware of when they’re going to the toilet and they may tell you
  • Their nappy is dry for one to two hours
  • They know/tell you when they have a dirty nappy
  • When they need to go for a poo they usually go somewhere quiet and hide, this shows that they’re beginning to become embarrassed about pooing
  • They might tell you in advance that they feel like they need to go to the toilet

If you feel that a child at your setting is ready for potty training, you can recommend it to their parents and let them make the decision on whether they also feel their child is ready. It’s important that the setting and parents work together and follow the same routine, so as not to confuse the child.

Then there’s the potty training itself. When teaching the child, there are a few simple tips that will make the process smoother and less stressful:

  • Take nappies away completely in the day; do not confuse them by putting them on when they’re not getting it straight away
  • Give them something to keep them amused whilst on the potty, such as a toy or book
  • Keep their potty close and if they tell you they need to go, put them on it (in a quieter place, not in front of the other children)
  • If they begin to urinate, pick them up and put them on the potty; giving them lots of praise so they begin to associate the potty with good behaviour
  • You can also put the child on the potty every hour to encourage them to go to the toilet, and again praise them if they do
  • You could create a reward chart so they get a gold star when they use the potty correctly
  • If the child does not get the idea within a few days, do not stress the child, instead you can suggest to the parents that you wait a couple of months before trying again

Remember, praise is the key to building a child’s confidence with using the potty, but don’t take praise overboard by using sweets as rewards; something simple such as a sticker chart is sufficient. If you start potty training and then realise the child isn’t ready, don’t rush them – wait a little while and speak with the child’s parents to agree when you’ll try again further down the line.


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