Toilet training your tamariki

Most tamariki (children) will be ready to start learning to use the toilet any time between about 20 months and about 3 years. Not all tamariki are ready at the same age. Here are some tips for toilet training your child.

Signs your tamariki are ready for toilet training

Your tamariki may be ready to start toilet training when they:

  • know when they are wet or dirty
  • are beginning to try to do things without your help
  • know they want to do a wee and can hold on long enough to make it to the toilet.

Moving your child out of nappies

These tips are based on Plunket’s toilet training information.

  • Be calm and relaxed when they start toilet training.
  • Try during summer because there are fewer clothes to take off and it is easier to get washing dry.
  • Introduce trainer pants or underpants when your tamariki seems ready, and help them to become familiar with the potty or toilet.
  • A small box or stool can help tamariki to climb onto the toilet and help boys be able to wee into the bowl. A smaller toilet seat can also help children to sit on the toilet.
  • Take them to the potty or toilet at regular times. Give them enough time to try to go, but try not to leave them on the potty o toilet for too long.
  • Praise works well. Reward your tamariki for trying, and when they succeed give them hugs, claps, stories or a star chart.
  • Tamariki do not always make it to the toilet in time when they are learning. Keep calm and do not tell them off or punish them if they have an accident.
  • Tamariki learn by copying others. Some parents let their tamariki watch family members go to the toilet.
  • Teach them to wash their hands after going to the toilet.


More information, including what to do if your tamariki starts wetting or pooing their pants again.


More tips for toilet training your tamariki.

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