Learning to Use the Toilet
to use the toilet is a big step for your child. It is
easier if you start when your child is ready. Children
must be able to control their bladders and bowels and
remove their clothing. They need to understand what you
expect. And they must want to use the toilet. Forcing
children before they are ready can be harmful to children
and frustrating for parents.
Some children learn to use the toilet easily, but for
others it is harder. It may take 3 to 6 months before
your child learns. Be patient. Remember, over time your
child will have fewer and fewer accidents.
Look for Signs That Your Child Is Ready
- His bowel movements are regular.
- His diapers are dry for at least 2 hours
or dry after naps.
- His face or posture shows when he is ready
to urinate or have a bowel movement.
- He fusses or asks to be changed when his
diaper is wet or soiled
- He can walk to the bath-room, help undress
himself and follow simple directions.
- He asks to use the potty or wear “big
Help Your Child
Learn to Use the Toilet
Encourage your child, but don’t force her. Make
sure she understands what you want her to do.
It’s helpful for mothers or sisters to show little
girls, and fathers or brothers to show little boys.
Show that urine and stool go in the toilet. Don’t
call them “dirty” or “bad.”
Don’t make your child feel shame about going to
Let your child sit on the potty with her clothes on
a few times. Then encourage her to sit on the potty
with her pants or diaper off. For boys, you can start
them urinating sitting on the potty or standing up.
Also teach children to throw
toilet paper in the toilet, flush the toilet, and wash
and dry their hands. Teach girls to wipe from front
to back to prevent infections.
Things You Can Do
Where to Find Help
Ann Has a New Potty Chair
Some children are afraid they will fall in the toilet.
They feel safer on a low potty chair with their feet on
the floor. You can also use a toilet seat adapter and
a step stool.
Have Your Child Sit on the Potty Every 2 to 3 Hours
- Try at the same times each day so it becomes
- Try after breakfast and other meals,
and after drinking. Try before and after naps, before
bath time and at bedtime.
- Try when he shows
signs that he needs to urinate or have a bowel movement.
- Let him sit for several minutes. Talk or
read a potty book.
- Let him get up when he’s
- Don’t expect him to use the
toilet right away and don’t show disappointment
when he does not. But when he does, reward him with praise