Tips for Toilet Learning (for Girls and Boys!)

Toilet learning is a big deal for kids and parents alike. If you’re both excited to start getting through naptime without any accidents, let’s go over some essential tips for toilet learning!

When should children start toilet learning?

Developmental and behavioral signs indicate your child is ready to start toilet learning, not age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends toilet learning at 18 months, but some children are ready before this age and some are ready after.

Ask yourself if your child can perform any of the following tasks before you begin: 

  • Follow simple instructions
  • Stay dry through naptime
  • Walk to and sit on the toilet
  • Communicate when they have to go

Most importantly, if your child is showing interest in using the toilet or wearing “big kid” underwear, they’re ready to start toilet learning.

How long does toilet learning take?

Remember, your patience can be absolutely essential to this process. This process generally takes about a year, but of course, that can vary from child to child.

To help your child get into the swing of toilet learning, you can describe using the toilet as a fun, exciting experience. You could say things like, “It’s fun to wear big kid underwear!” or, “Are you excited to flush like a big boy?”

Avoid dismissing your child’s old diapers as “babyish.” You might accidentally motivate your child to rebel against toilet learning, which can make the process a headache for you.

How do I talk about toilet learning with my child?

It’s important that you avoid using negative language if your child has an accident. Don’t use terms like “dirty” or “stinky” when referring to your child’s diapers. Emphasize that this is a natural and healthy process that your child is undergoing.

Instead, be sure to praise grown-up behavior whenever your child exhibits it. If they tell you when they have to go, be sure to congratulate them to reinforce that behavior. If they pull their own pants up, express your excitement that they’re learning!

Finally, avoid asking your child, “Do you want to go to the toilet?” as they will likely answer with, “No.” Instead, tell them, “It’s time to sit on the toilet,” and take them to the bathroom. You could even turn it into a game by racing them to the toilet. Redirect them from their other activities with another fun activity!


Every child learns differently both on and off the toilet. If you’re ready to give your child a jumpstart on their formal education, you can schedule a tour of our facilities to learn more about the Inspire Kids Montessori method!

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