Top 10 potty training tips for successful toileting: 

  1. Drink plenty: Make sure your child is having 6-8 drinks of water-based fluid a day to help keep their bowel and bladder healthy. Avoid fizzy drinks, drinks with caffeine in them and sugary drinks. Don't limit their drinks to help them stay dry as it doesn't work. The bladder needs to be filled and emptied properly to keep it working well.

  2. Check for constipation: Your child should poo at least four times a week and the poo should be soft and easy to pass. If they’re passing hard poos or going less often than this, they may be constipated. Leaking, runny poo can also be a sign of constipation. Look at our bowel problems section or download ERIC's Guide to Children's Bowel Problems for more information.

  3. Use easy clothing: Clothes that are easy to pull up and down are the best; avoid fiddly zips and buttons. Choose clothes that are easy to wash and dry. It can help to practise getting dressed and undressed. Let your child choose their own pants and practise wearing them to get used to the feeling.

  4. Pick a potty: Let your child choose a potty if you're going to use one. Keep it in the bathroom and let them practise sitting on it. You might want to have more than one potty to begin with. If you're using a children's toilet seat, let your child choose it and a foot stool to help support them when they’re on the loo.

  5. Get into a routine: Don't ask your child if they need a wee or a poo as they might not know what this is to begin with. Call it 'potty time' or 'toilet time' and go every couple of hours.

  6. Keep it short: Don't let them sit for too long on the potty or toilet, two or three minutes is fine. Keep some toys handy to occupy them while they sit.

  7. Encourage boys to sit down to wee: They might also need a poo and sitting down will help them to go. They may empty their bladder better sitting down too.

  8. Be consistent: If your child is looked after by a relative or goes to nursery or a childminder make sure you let them know that you’re starting potty training and the way you’re planning to do it. It really helps if everyone who cares for your child is doing the same thing.

  9. Give lots of praise: For each little step like sitting on the potty, washing hands and getting dressed. Rewards are a good incentive – make them small and instant, like a sticker. 

  10. Be patient: Potty training is a skill which may take some time to learn, so don’t be surprised if there are lots of accidents to start with. You might decide your child isn’t ready after all, in which case stop potty training and have another go in a few weeks.

For more information about potty training head to our potty training pages or download ERIC's Guide to Potty Training