Welcome to our column which looks at nursery education and child development written by Kate Plews – an experienced Health Visitor and MD of Sunbeams Nurseries. Kate will use her wealth of knowledge and experience working with families and children to bring advice to our readers on many different topics. This month, she gives some tips on toilet training.

Many parents feel pressured to help their children reach milestones by a particular age, In the case of potty/toilet training, trying to train too early can actually do more harm than good. It is best to exercise a little patience and begin potty training only when your child is ready. Most children under the age of 18 months will not feel the sensation of needing to use the toilet.
There is no “right” way to learn nor is there a “right” age to learn. Every child is different so try not to compare your child with others.
Five things you need to know about toilet training:-
• Stage not age
There is a wide variance in the age at which children might be ready for toilet training. Children as young as 15 months can surprise their parents by being ready, while it is perfectly normal for children to be closer to or over three years old before they are clean and dry. Successful toilet training requires two things to be in place: bladder control and awareness and understanding of the process.
• Bladder control
For potty training to be successful, children’s bladders have to be sufficiently mature. This means that they can hold urine for a period of time, at least an hour, preferably an hour and half, before releasing it completely. You can check this by seeing how long your child’s nappy remains dry after changing. It is the speed at which your child’s bladder reaches this level of maturity that will influence how early toilet training can begin.
• Ready, steady, go!
Once children have gained bladder control and also awareness that they are passing urine or poo, it is a good idea to start the training – it is not a good idea to delay potty training.
• Reflex action
Some children can learn to pass urine before they are potty trained as part of a routine – for example, sitting on the toliet before a bath, this is useful in helping children to learn to urinate without a nappy.
• Signalling delay
Unlike adults, children’s bladders send out ‘empty me’ signals very late. While adults’ bladders do this from half full, giving us plenty of notice, children’s bladders are almost full when the signal is sent. This is one of the reasons why children may have accidents.
If your child is in the middle of potty training during a stressful time and seems to be having more accidents than usual, know that this is normal.  Your child needs all of your patience and support right now.  They will return to their previous level of potty training once things have gotten back to normal.
For more details on our nurseries Sunbeams, visit www.sunbeamsdaynursery.com or our Facebook page.
Address and Telephone numbers for all our 4 nurseries are as follows :
Sunbeams (Halton)
17 Field End Gardens
LS15 0QD
Tel: 0113 260 6957
Sunbeams (Leeds)
Austhorpe Lane
Austhorpe Leeds
LS15 8TP
Tel: 0113 264 0779
Sunbeams (Harrogate)
Ainsty Road
Tel: 01423 526204
Sunbeams (Thorpe Park) Barrowby Carr Cottage,
Barrowby Carr Drive,
Leeds, LS15 8FB.
Tel 0113 260 9066.


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