As with all developmental milestones in the EYFS there is a wide variation in the time at which children master the skills involved in being fully toilet trained. Parents are encouraged to train their child at home as part of their daily routine and the Seahorse Nursery will work alongside the family to reinforce these routines at Nursery.

We have a range of potties available , toilet training seats (inset in the toilet) so your child feels secure on the toilet and moveable footsteps so they can access the sink and toilet independently (where needed).

When to start:

This depends on the individual child but most toddlers are ready between the age of two and two and a half. As your child grows, they will naturally start to hold it in and tell you they need to go.

  • By age one, most toddlers have stopped pooing at night
  • By age two, some will start to stay dry during the day
  • By age three, most children stay dry during the day – although you should be prepared for the odd accident

It’s important to remember every child is different, so look for the signs your child is ready to be toilet trained rather than comparing with others.

Common signs you child might be ready:

  • They might tell you when they have done a wee or a poo in their nappy
  • They tell you as they’re weeing or pooing in their nappy
  • They fidget with their nappy or go somewhere quiet when they need to wee

If they are showing these signs, you may want to begin – similarly if we notice these signs at nursery then we will talk to you and decide together whether it is the right time to start. We recommend to avoid starting potty training at times when your child may be unsettled, for example, if you are moving house or they have a new brother or sister.

How to start potty/toilet training:

Toddlers can be fearful of change so start slowly and never push them. Also don’t be afraid to pause and try again later if it’s not going well.

  • If possible, let them spend some time without their nappy on during the day and keep the potty close at hand.
  • Start sitting your toddler on the potty without a nappy for a few minutes at regular times each day, such as after breakfast or before bath time. At Seahorse Nursery we have a potty in the nappy changing room so your child can sit on the potty before having their nappy changed.
  • Don’t force your toddler to sit on the potty if they don’t want to otherwise they can begin to associate the potty with negative feelings. It’s  a good idea to take your child with you to the toilet so they can observe the process.
  • If your toddler won’t sit still, try giving them a book to look at or a toy to play with to distract them for a bit longer
  • Some children dislike using a potty and prefer to use the family toilet with a child’s toilet training seat added – see this as a positive and if you child starts potty training around 30 months then we would recommend trying to go straight to a toilet training seat.
  • Praise your child whenever they use the potty or toilet. You can consider offering your child a small reward, such as a sticker (not food related), to encourage it’s use. However gain bladder and bowel control is an exciting step in independence so that should be a reward in itself.
  • If, more likely when, your child has an accident, encourage them to use the potty next time rather than disciplining them for getting it wrong. It really doesn’t matter and at Nursery we are used to changing children all the time so it’s not a problem.

Tips on how to potty train a boy:

  • It’s easier to start with him sitting down for both a pee and poo.
  • Get dad involved if you can and let him give some demonstrations.
  • Once he is starting to stand up to pee in the toilet you can help him aim better by playing ‘sink the cereal’ (float a few pieces of cereal in your toilet for him to aim at), or another suggestion is to put a ping-pong ball into the toilet. It won’t flush away so it’s great for target practice.
  • Put some blue food colouring down the toilet. As your toddler urinates it will turn green and might make the experience more fun and exciting.
  • If he has a doll or special toy, encourage him to ‘train’ them through the process at the same time.

Tips on how to potty train a girl:

  • Allow your daughter to come with you to the toilet, and tell her what you’re doing so that she understands what you’re doing.
  • Remember to wipe from front to back to help prevent any infections from developing around her vagina.
  • If she has a doll or special toy, encourage her to ‘train’ them through the process at the same time.

Every child is different and they will take time to master using the potty or toilet. Try not to lose heart if things aren’t going to plan and remember to take things at your child’s pace.