Tips on Toilet Training

This topic was featured on our Modern Parent segment on The Rhode Show! Click here to watch the episode.

Toilet training your child is perhaps one of the most difficult and sometimes daunting tasks for parents!  Have no fear, with a few tips and tricks, toilet training will be a breeze for you and your child!

How do I know my child is ready?

It is important to remember the there is no magic age or time for when children are ready to use the toilet, as all children grow and develop differently.  However, children usually exhibit interest in toilet training between the ages of 2 and 2 ½.  If you still aren’t sure if your child is ready, consider the following:

Does your child recognize when they need to use the bathroom?

  • Does your child show interest in the toilet?  Washing his/her hands?
  • Does your child wake up from naps and/or night time sleep with a dry diaper?
  • Does your child asked for his/her diaper to be changed when it is soiled?


How do I start?

A great way to introduce toilet training is by using children’s books.  Reading books about toileting to young children gets them familiar with this personal care routine.  Reading the story repetitively is also helpful!

  • If you have dolls and small doll furniture (ie from a doll house) – this is also a great way for children to learn about toileting through imaginary play.
  • Introduce your child to the toilet – if you are using an adult sized toilet, be sure your child has a stool or steps for easy access. 


How do I get my child to sit on the toilet?

Many times children can be afraid of the toilet!  Begin your toilet training experience by “visiting” the toilet every hour.  Allow your child to sit on the toilet, even if they do not actually use it. 

  • Reward your child with something small for sitting on the toilet.
  • When your child has a soiled diaper, encourage them to sit on the toilet so they are able to make the connection between this bodily function and the toilet. 



Other Useful Tips:

Use underwear only!  Transferring back and forth from underwear to diapers is confusing for children.  Use diapers at nap and bedtime only.

  • Remember that toilet training is a challenge for children.  Clothe your child in manageable clothing to avoid frustration.
  • Please try your best to be consistent in training your child – at home, at school, in the community, etc.
  • Pack LOTS of extra clothes for wherever you are!  Although it’s not fun to do laundry, toilet training won’t last forever!  It is well worth it in the end!
  • Remain calm at all times!  Children can sense frustration from adults.  It is essential to avoid children becoming stressed or afraid of using the toilet.

Kelli Didomenico brings over 20 years of experience to her role as Director of Family Engagement at The Children’s Workshop.  In her role she welcomes and supports children and families directly but also supports the company’s center Directors to encourage families to become actively involved in their child’s education through parent committees, family events, and by volunteering in our classrooms.  Additionally, she reaches out to form partnerships that enhance the services that The Children’s Workshop can provide for its families.  Kelli earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College.