Toilet Training: A step by step guide

Toilet training is a big milestone for both children and parents. When training your child to use the toilet, a supportive environment can aid in promoting their self-esteem and is a major progression in your child’s level of independence.

Like many first-time parents, you may have a few questions. How do I know if my child is ready? Is there an appropriate age? Potty or toilet training seat? How is this implemented into Childcare? Like most child-related matters, there is not necessarily any right or wrong answers. However, there are a few useful tips and insights to help you navigate the world of toilet training.

How old should my child be?

Generally, children can begin showing signs of readiness from about two years old. Some children can be ready as early as 18 months and some can be ready closer to three. Do not be discouraged if your child is taking a little longer than others, every child moves at their own pace and the right time will come.

How do I know if my child is ready?

A few signs that could indicate that your child is ready are:

  • Telling you or gesturing when they have done a poo or wee.
  • Has a dry nappy for up to two hours.
  • Pulling at their nappy/trying to take it off.
  • Can follow simple instructions.
  • Can pull up/down their pants.
  • Is walking and can sit in one position for a short period of time.
  • Becomes interested when other adults or older siblings are using the toilet.
  • Has more regular bowel movements.
  • Understands toilet language.

Potty or Toilet training seat?

So, you have decided that your child is likely ready to start their toilet training journey, now you must decide… potty or toilet training seat? There are pros and cons for both options, but it ultimately depends on what is best suited to your family and your child.


Potties are portable and are much smaller than a toilet training seat, which can be less intimidating for your child to use. They also come in many different colours with different fun characters which can help encourage your child to use them. Potties are also generally more accessible for your child to sit on rather than having to pull out the toilet training seat and setting it up.

The most obvious downside of potties is the regular cleaning that is required, the need to dispose of the contents after every use and potentially the amount of space it takes up in the bathroom.

Toilet training seats

Toilet training seats are convenient in the way that all waste goes down the toilet and not as much cleaning is required. As toilet training seats rest on top of the actual toilet, less transition is required to the real toilet seat compared to going from a potty to a toilet. Toilet training seats can only be in one place, which is helpful for your child to create a routine for them; learn they must go to the same place every time, pull down pants, wipe, flush, wash hands, etc.

Some children can be scared of using a toilet training seat as it’s quite high up and big, or not being able to hold it before they get on. Experts also say that children’s feet should be resting on a flat surface when using the toilet, meaning you may have to buy an additional stool if the training seat does not have one attached, resulting in more clutter in the bathroom. Depending on which one you choose, you will have to always put it on and take it off when using the bathroom, yourself.

How is toilet training implemented into childcare?

When you decide your child is ready to begin toilet training, speak to your child’s educators at childcare. Let them know if you would prefer for your child to use a potty or a toilet and of any strategies you have implemented at home that have been working for your child.

At childcare, the toilets are small enough where your child will not need a training seat on top and there is generally a step. Alternatively, they may have potties there. Your child’s educators will remind your child to go sit on the potty/toilet every half an hour to an hour or if your child is showing any signs of needing to use the bathroom.

You will have to decide whether you want your child to be wearing underwear or pullups throughout the day. Be sure to pack multiple pairs of both in the early stages.

At Explorers, we support and work together with parents to make the process a bit smoother as we are well qualified and trained. Each child learns at their own pace and toilet training is a process that can take some children a little longer to master than others. Ensure you remain calm and supportive of your child and praise them for their achievements as this is a big step in their little world!