Two people decide when it's time to stop using nappies: you and your toddler. There's no point trying to hurry the process; sooner or later all children say goodbye to nappies.
Children start being able to control their bladder at 18-24 months – and this is the basic prerequisite for toilet training. According to many people, around two is generally a suitable age to start introducing the concept of using a potty. But the age varies. All children are different – some are ready at two, while others take until the age of four.
Instead of worrying what age is right, it’s better to keep a lookout for signs that your toddler is ready to start trying.
When can you start toilet training?
1. If your toddler remains dry for two consecutive hours. For instance, they may wake up with a dry nappy after an afternoon nap. This shows that they can hold on to their wee for longer. A three-month-old baby pees just over once an hour. A three-year-old pees once every two hours. But of course this is highly individual.
2. If you notice facial expressions or gestures indicating that your toddler is aware of peeing or pooing. For example, they might pause in the middle of playing or withdraw slightly to go in their nappy.
3. If your toddler wants to have their nappy changed immediately after peeing or pooing. Many toddlers react to poo first, because wee disappears into the nappy so quickly.
4. If your child starts showing an interest in toilet habits and wants to copy you sitting on the toilet.
Staying dry takes time
Giving up nappies takes time. It takes a while for you to learn to spot the signals, time for your child to get to the potty in time, time to wipe up little puddles and wash and change soiled clothes. But you’ll get there in the end.
Some days everything works well, while on other days there are lots of little accidents. The going can sometimes seem tough. It’s all about training – and that includes the head as well as the muscles around the bladder and intestines.
Don’t compare your toddler to other children - everyone develops at their own pace. Some kids give up nappies immediately, while others take a bit longer. Be patient – it’ll happen in the end.