Toilet Learning for Toddlers – Tips for Parents


Parent-Teacher conferences are just around the corner! A frequently raised topic of conversation is toilet learning. Even before your child transitions to underpants, there are a number of practices you can implement in preparation for the process. These include:

  • Changing your child while s/he is standing up

  • Encouraging your child to sit on or stand at the toilet during diaper changes

  • Encouraging your child to push down pants, remove the diaper, pull up pants

Below are some tips to help you and your child along the way once s/he transitions to underpants:

  • Be realistic in your expectations. It is likely that your child will wet or soil himself/herself many times initially.

  • Dress your child for success! S/he should wear bottoms that are easy to push down.

  • Set up a toileting schedule (e.g. upon waking, after breakfast, upon arriving home, before and after dinner, before bed, etc.). Tell your child “it’s time to use the bathroom” rather than asking if s/he needs to use the bathroom.

  • Resist the temptation to try and micromanage the process. Prompt your child to use the bathroom when s/he is not engaged in an activity. This will likely help reduce power struggles.

  • Avoid using the word “accident” when your child wets or soils himself/herself. “Accident” tends to carry a negative connotation. Use more neutral language, like “you are wet.”

  • When your child does wet or soil himself/herself, have your child participate in undressing and getting clean.

  • Last, but not least, remain positive! While some children master the process quickly and effortlessly, others take considerably longer.

If you have any additional questions about toilet learning, please contact your classroom teachers!

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