The right age to start potty training is different for every child and can be anything from eighteen months to thirty- two months. The secret to the success is to wait until your child is physically and emotionally ready.

Broadly your child should have the ability to walk and sit unaided. They will need to be able to attempt to pull their pants up and down, flush the toilet and wash and dry their hands. They should understand words such as ‘wee and ‘poo’ and what the toilet is for. They may indicate to you they want to take the nappy off and use the potty or toilet.

Look for signs that your child is ready such as
  • having longer dry periods more often
  • they tell you they want to do a wee or poo
  • they can pull up and down their own pants
  • they show an interest in learning about potty training
  • they are able to imitate behaviour

Use a reward system that is good for you and your child, and can be a mix of praise, hugs and cheers, treats, star charts and toys. The reward should be given immediately after your child accomplishes the potty training goal, this way your child will form a strong connection between their achievement and the reward.

Tips for successful potty training


  • Potty training takes time and requires a lot of patience throughout the process to keep it stress free for your child, so pick a period when you have plenty of time.
  • Accidents are inevitable, especially when a child is tired so stay calm and positive with your child.
  • Be consistent with your approach and pick a routine that works for you and your child.
  • Make sure all care givers such as babysitters and grandparents follow the same routine.
  • Don’t delay, when your child needs to go they need to go so doesn’t ignore their call.
  • Get their clothes right, make sure what they are wearing is easy for them to pull up and down especially if in a hurry.

Talk to your local public health nurse for advice about potty training.