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Toilet training

Toilet training

What is toilet training?  

The Child recognizes the need to pass urine or open bowels and does so in an acceptable location.

Steps needed to toilet

-Recognise urge

-Move to toilet

-Pull pants down 

-Get on Toilet

-Pass urine or bowel motion

-Wipe bottom

-Get off toilet

-Pull up clothing

-Flush toilet

-Wash and dry hands


-15-18% of 5 year olds wet their beds

-1-2% of 15 year olds wet their beds

-1% of girls aged 4-7 wets regularly during the day

-0.3-0.8% of boys 4-7 wet regularly during the day

-3.5% of boys aged 5 soil. 1.0% of girls aged 5 soils

-The average ages children are completely toilet trained is 36months for girls and 38 months for boys

Development of bladder control  

-Reflex in infancy

-1-2 years- gradual awareness of full bladder

-3 years – able to tense the muscles of the pelvic floor

-4 years – able to stop the flow of urine

-6 years – able to start urination at any stage of bladder filling

Readiness for toilet training  

-          Physiological maturity

-          Communication skills

-          Mobility

-          Social Skills


Signs of readiness – Child  

-Can ‘hold on’ for up to 2 hours

-Indicates awareness of when wetting or soiling is occurring/has occurred

-Shows an interest in others toileting habits

-Uses toileting language

-Ability to dress/undress

Signs of readiness – Parent  

-Realistic expectations

-No other major life events happening

-Commencing training because of child’s readiness, not others expectations

 Pre toilet training and preparation  

-Use role modeling

-Teach child the language of toileting

-When child shows signs of passing urine or faeces, talk to them about what is happening

-Read books about toileting

-Note down times the child usually wets or soils

And here we go!  

-Remain calm

-Offer toilet regularly during the day

-Don’t make them sit longer than 5 minutes

-Put the child in clothing that is easy for them to pull up/down OR Ensure clothing is easy for the child to manage

-Get the child to flush toilet

-Remember that washing hands is part of the process

-Reward effort

-Try to pick a time when a daily routine will be followed

- Offer the toilet a few minutes after food/drink.

-Through the day, ask the child if they would like to go to the toilet

-Reward/praise good practice.

If there is no progress or interest from your child after two weeks, or it is causing distress to the child, have a break for a month or two, then try again.

It is common for children to continue having some toileting mishaps once toilet training is complete, just keep calm and help them clean up.

If you wish to have further advice, contact your health professional, continence advisor, or Continence NZ