Toddler - Toilet training - urge to wee Toddler - Toilet training - urge to wee

Recognising the urge to wee

Helping your child know when it’s time to go to the potty or toilet

Toilet training often starts as a result of parents recognising their toddlers’ signs of either going to the toilet or needing to go. This recognition from parents usually comes long before it does for the child.

It’s up to you to teach your child that their wriggling, leg crossing or crotch grabbing is actually their body’s signal that they need to go to the toilet or potty.

The key to effective toilet training is that the child recognises the urge to wee or poo, and acts on the impulse, rather than them simply reaching a certain age to start toilet training.

Common signals

  • Moving from one foot to another

  • Dancing or wriggling on the spot

  • Facial expressions

  • Grabbing at the genitals (especially boys)

  • Passing wind prior to needing to poo

Teaching your toddler to recognise the urge

Teaching your child to recognise the urge to go to the toilet, and knowing when to start toilet training can be tricky. Here are a few ideas to use:

  • Kids love to copy their parents, so next time make a show of recognising your own urge to go to the toilet.

  • Lose your inhibitions and let them accompany you to the toilet.

  • Talk about times that you might recognise the urge like after eating or having a big drink.

  • Make it seem like great fun to go the toilet.

  • Familiarise yourself with some common toilet training myths.

  • Encourage your toddler to tell you what you should do if you think you need to do a wee.

  • Start talking in their language, use poo and wee or other words that you are comfortable with.

  • Praise them for telling you they’re wet, it’s the first step in them recognising they’ve done something.

  • If they show they need to go to the toilet, tell them “you’ve got a wee/poo coming, lets go to the potty”.

  • If they pass wind, get them to recognise the smell as a signal that a poo might be coming.

If your child is recognising the urge to wee, chances are they are ready to start toilet training. Just make sure you’re prepared with the best toilet training products and toilet training tools.


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