Richmond Practice - Potty training

Potty training
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When is the right time to start potty training?

The ideal age is when your child starts to let you know, for instance, that their nappy is full or that they want to go. This is an indication that they are ready for potty training. Most are ready at some time between 18 months and two and a half years of age, with girls often being ready before boys.

When you start toilet training you need to make a commitment that there will be no more nappies during the day unless you are going on a particularly long car journey. Encourage your child to sit on the potty for about 3-5 minutes every 90 minutes. It is a mistake to put them on more frequently as they will never learn to recognise the sensation of a full bladder. If you put them on the potty and they do nothing, then let them get off but watch them closely. If they start to wee, tell them gently to stop and immediately put them on the potty. Praise them effusively. Also, it usually helps to give some sort of tangible reward. If they show no sign of weeing in the next 20-30 minutes, put them back on the potty and, again, encourage them to go. Don’t worry about training them at night at this point.

Make sure you keep the whole thing fairly low-key and make it as much of a game as possible.

Consult your doctor if:
  • your child is over the age of three and has been trying to use the potty for more than six months without much success
  • your child stubbornly refuses to open their bowels and develops chronic constipation
You should arrange to see your doctor, with your child, to exclude possible medical causes and get further advice. Either of our doctors or our paediatrician can examine your child to rule out medical causes.