Five easy wins to boost your toddler’s toilet confidence

Remove the worries around going to the loo alone by teaching your little one these simple toilet training skills

Which button to flush, how to wipe, getting tangled in their dungarees – there are a lot of challenges when you’re barely tall enough to reach the loo roll! So, starting school with ninja toilet skills will increase your child’s confidence and help them with the challenges ahead. “It needs patience and practice, not a crash course the week before school!” says Alina Lynden from ERIC, The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity. Here’s how to get top marks in toilet training.

Begin with the 3-step routine

Nope, not a Strictly move – it’s essentially teaching them to wipe, flush, wash. First up: teach your child to wipe their bottom. Start with showing them how much paper to use. “For wiping, try ‘hand over hand’ where your child places their hand over yours while you wipe them front-to-back,” explains Alina. “Then, swap so the child is wiping with your hand guiding theirs, before they go it alone.” Children can find it easier standing to wipe.

Take a toilet tour

Remove the fear of new toilets by showing your child all the weird and wonderful loos out there! “Make it fun,” says Alina. “Let them try out the different flushes, loo roll dispensers, taps and hand driers, so they’re prepared.” Take photos. “If you can, make sure they’ve seen the school toilets before they start, so they can see what ‘type’ they are,” adds Alina.

Dress for success (no skinny jeans or dungarees!)

While your child is learning, loose-fitting, easy-to-pull-up-and-down clothes are a must. “Get them to practice pulling clothes up and down when they don’t need the loo,” says Alina. Have a go with their school uniform, too.

Get them in the best position

It’s okay for boys to sit to wee (it’s better for emptying the bladder), but they’ll also need to learn it standing up, in case they need to use a urinal. “Put something in the toilet bowl for them to aim at – like a ping pong ball – and make it into a game,” says Alina. When sitting, a footstool makes knees higher than hips – this helps them empty their bladder properly and gives your child stability when wiping.

Remove the poo taboo

Starting school means your child may be pooing in a public loo for the first time. Reassure them. “Tell them that everyone’s poos go plop – and smell too. It’s normal!” says Alina. Speak to the teacher if you think your child may be afraid to ask to go to the toilet – they may be able to use a code word if they’re feeling awkward about it.