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Advice on Toilet training

Some people swear boys potty train faster than girls, others say vice versa. The age at which even siblings will train can vary hugely. The ability to do so is dependent on the maturation of the brain and nervous system that supply the bowel and bladder. The rate of the development of these is controlled by genetic makeup, all children are different. Here are some tips:

  • Wait till both you and your child are ready, most parents start to think about potty training between 16 to 24 months.
  • Don't worry if you have to revert to nappies, some children lose interest for a while when the novelty wears off! Don't get het-up, leave it for a while and try again.
  • Potty training can be hard work, choose your time to start carefully, just before Christmas, or when you are about to have another baby is not a good idea!
  • It can be easier to train in the summer when children wear less.
  • Some children prefer to use a child toilet seat.
  • Let your child see other children using the toilet or the potty.
  • Tell your child how clever he or she is when the potty or toilet is used successfully. For older children a 'star chart' can add an incentive.
  • Establish a good hand washing routine.
  • Don't expect dry nights straight away, this will follow in due course!
  • Remember, there can be significant differences in the age at which children achieve toilet training, particularly at night. If you are worried about your child's progress you should speak to your health visitor or doctor.

Dr Sarah Brewer comments: 'There is little point in starting potty-training before your baby is ready to try. Most infants can't tell if they've soiled or wet themselves until they're at least a year old, and many are unable to recognise the "need to go" until well into their second year. The ideal time to start toilet training is when a baby is around 20 months old and most babies are usually successfully potty-trained by the age of two and a half years. You'll know he is ready when he starts telling you he's done something, develops a fascination with soiling or wetting, or stops what he's doing and looks uncomfortable.'