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Toilet training: when is the best time to start?

When is the best time to start toilet training a toddlerTiming is everything when you’re starting to to toilet training a toddler.

Pick a bad time to start and the entire process can be long and painful. For both of you! Oh, and messy. Very messy.

So to give yourself the best chance at successfully and quickly toilet training your little one, it is essential that you time it right.

So when IS the best time to start toilet training your toddler? Here are the five things you should look out for …

When is the best time to start toilet training?

When your child is ready

If you start before your child is ready for toilet training you will probably just draw out the process – and once you realise what the process involves you’ll want it over sooner rather than later.

So the best idea is to wait until you’re absolutely sure they’re ready. Age-wise it is generally between 22 – 30 months but some children won’t be ready until after their third birthday. They’ve also got to be physically ready (can climb onto the toilet seat, pull down their pants, communicate well etc) and emotionally ready (they want to use the toilet, talk about being a ‘big boy’ etc).

When the weather is warm

It is easier to toilet train in warmer weather. Letting your child run around naked (in the yard is best!) can help them tune into their bodily functions. They will certainly notice they’re peeing when there’s no nappy there to immediately absorb it. Also in summer your child won’t have too many layers to remove when they need to go. And it won’t be cold and uncomfortable to sit on the toilet.

READ: For more tips, advice and free reward charts check out our Toilet Training Hub

When there are no other upheavals in the child’s life

Pick a time when your child is feeling secure and there are no other major changes in their lives. Don’t try to toilet train when there’s recently been or there’s about to be a major upheaval in your child’s life. These could include a new baby, moving house, major renovations or starting daycare. If you don’t leave enough time between toilet training and a major event you might find your child will regress.

When you have a lot of time on your hands

The first few days/weeks of toilet training require your full attention. You’ll have to pick a time when you can watch your child constantly. Wait for a time when both parents will be home or you can get some extra help from friends or family (especially if you’ve got other children to look after). Start toilet training on the first day of a long weekend or even have the working parent take a few days of annual leave.

When you don’t need to leave the house for a while

Don’t start toilet training on a busy weekend when you’ve got a big grocery shop to do, coffee with friends and a barbecue at your mum’s house. You’ll have more success if you stay home, devote all your attention to your child and begin developing routines around the toilet training – they’ll feel much more secure if they know where the toilet is etc.

Also it is highly likely that, in the first few days of toilet training, there will be quite a few accidents. It is much easier to clean accidents at home. Your relatives (and the people at the coffee shop) will thank you for it!

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