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Toilet training your child

Children usually learn to use the toilet between 18 months and 4 years. Not all kids are ready at the same age. Your child may show signs that they are ready and there are things you can do to help them move out of nappies.

Signs your child is ready

Your child may be ready when they know they want to pass urine (wees) and be able to hold on long enough to make it to the toilet.

Daytime control usually happens before night time control and it is normal for one in ten children to still be wetting their bed when they’re 5 years old.

Being dry at night happens at different ages. Often bed-wetting at older ages runs in the family/whānau.

Moving your child out of nappies

Children learn by copying others, so if you’re comfortable, let your child watch family members go to the toilet. You can also:

  • Start with a calm, relaxed approach. 

  • Try during summer because there are fewer clothes to take off.  

  • Introduce trainer pants or underpants when they seem ready, and help them to become familiar with the potty or toilet. 

  • If you’re using a toilet, use a small box or stool that your child can stand on it.

  • Use a smaller toilet seat if a box doesn’t suit.

  • Take them to the potty/toilet at regular times. Give them enough time to try to go, but try not to leave them there for too long. 

  • Praise your child for trying and when they succeed. Reward them with hugs, claps, stories or a star chart. 

  • Be prepared for when they don’t make it in time, and don’t scold or punish them. 

  • Teach your child to wash their hands after going to the toilet.

What to do if your child starts wetting or pooing their pants again

This is especially common if something new is happening, such as a new baby in the house. It is normal and the right time will come, but if it does happen:

  • Try to understand what caused it.

  • Change your child in a calm manner and avoid telling them off or punishing them.

  • Remind your child to go to the toilet, as some busy children forget.

  • Praise them when they go to the toilet. 

  • Introduce fun things for when they use the toilet, like being allowed to choose the toilet paper at the shops or a star or sticker chart. 

  • They may need to go back into nappies for a while.

Toilet Training Guide

Huggies have developed a FREE downloadable Toilet Training Guide.  The guide contains helpful tips and ideas to help support you and your child through the toilet training process. 

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