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Somewhere between 18 and 36 months old (usually), both you and your child will
be ready to begin the toilet training process. In the previous Issue 335, we
discussed the readiness signs to look for (read it online at
If you are able to, it’s a good idea to set a start date and then clear
your schedule as much as possible. It’s important to be home as much as
you can to improve the chances of success. Remember that every time you put
them back in a nappy, the process is prolonged. Obviously there will be times
when you need to go out. There is still shopping to be done, siblings to be
picked up from school and people to visit. Try and limit outings as much as
possible and get people to come to you. We would still put our little ones
back in a nappy for nap time and night time initially as you don’t want
to be changing bed sheets every day. Other than that, we want to give our
toddlers every opportunity to got o the toilet.
Once you decide, don’t turn back! If a child senses that you are not
fully committed to this process, they will not be as committed themselves.
Mark a start date on your calendar. Make the build up to that date exciting.
Go shopping for ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ underwear. Buy
some treats. Drop some carpet cleaner into your shopping trolley, just in
case! Buy some food that is higher in salt like potato chips and some juice.
We wouldn’t normally recommend buying salty food and too much juice but
I’ll explain why in next month’s article! Finally, take a photo of
them standing in their new underpants. They will love it now and it will be a
great thing to bring out at their 21st birthday party!
Since pioneering developmental programmes with children, David and Charissa
Scotford have worked in private practice over the past 15 years. They teach
and produce parenting resources available at