When is the Right Time to Toilet Train your Toddler? And differences between Girls and Boys

Starting to Toilet Training your toddler is a big exciting step in your and your little one’s life! Although, let’s be honest, how many of you dreaded this day? I know I did! But now that I have been through it twice, I can tell you, it’s not that bad. If you can time it so that your toddler is ready, it should happen much easier for you. Plus, if you can stay calm and positive about it all, your child will be more likely to settle into things faster. I bet you’re reading this, because you’ve been asking yourself, when is the right time to toilet train my toddler? The secret is to wait for your child’s signs that they are ready before toilet training. But how do you know what these signs are? Don’t worry, I will go into this in detail for you today. I have already written a post for you guys on the steps for how to toilet train your toddlers so I won’t go into that too much again. Click here to have a read of that too, it’s a goodie if I say so myself. I referred to this before toilet training Paxton. But I didn’t go into detail on knowing when the right time to do it is. Plus, now that I have toilet trained Harper and Paxton, I’d love to go through the differences that we found when toilet training boys versus girls, just for a bit of fun.

Paxton learning to wee standing

When is the right time to toilet train your toddler?

It is SO important to toilet train your child when they are ready. It will make the whole process that much easier for both of you. Accidents suck, it’s not fun, but just be prepared that they will happen. Toilet training toddlers usually occurs around the age of two to three. Sometimes children can start as early as 18 months and others as late as four. You just need to keep in mind that every child is different. Don’t do it because you’re ready or because your friend is doing it. Wait until your child is ready and it will happen much easier and faster.


Important Questions to ask yourself before Toilet Training your Toddler.

  • Is your child walking? And can he/she sit for short periods of time?
  • Can your child understand you and follow simple instructions?
  • Can your child pull their pants up and down on their own?
  • Is your child becoming curious when you go to the toilet? As uncomfortable as this may make you feel, it’s actually very important to start showing them what you do and talking to them about the whole process.
  • Are they aware of the difference between a wee and a poo?
  • Is your child telling you when they are doing wees and/or poos in their nappy?
  • Are they telling you before they need to do a wee or poo? If yes, this is a very big sign that they are ready.
  • Does your child ask to be changed after doing a wee or poo?
  • Does your child dislike wearing a nappy and is constantly trying to take it off?


These are the big questions to ask yourself before starting the process. If you answered YES to most of these questions, your toddler is most likely ready to be toilet trained. However, you do not need to answer yes too all of them to know that your child is ready. I also found that as a mum another good thing to do is to follow your gut. You will know when your child is ready.


How it happened for my kids…

Looking back, I think I may have pushed it a little with Harper. I really thought she was ready. She was showing signs as early as 18 months, but that was the same time her brother, Paxton was born. So, we put it on hold a few months until after she was two. She was very vocal about it and aware of what she was doing. But she also had SO many changes in her life at once – she started child care, we moved to a new house and had a baby all within three months. It was all a big adjustment for her. She did really well, positive reinforcement (in the form of jelly beans) worked wonders for her. But it did take Harper quite a long time to work out when to tell us that she needed to go. I think she struggled to identify the feeling of needing to do a wee.  So, we were constantly reminding her and having to take her to the toilet. It wasn’t till at least a month or two into being toilet trained that she started telling us when she needed to go.


With Paxton for some reason, I seriously dreaded it. I knew what it involved and the work needed to get it right, so I was happy to keep him in his nappies. But it was him, telling me he was ready, that really pushed me to do it! Paxton was literally pulling his nappy off and running to the toilet. He knew when he needed to go and because he had a big sister to show him, he wanted to be like her and copy her. It honestly took us two days to toilet train him. I would say he had about six wee accidents day one. One poo accident and one wee accident day two. And by day three he was done! It was pretty amazing. Plus, from about day four or five he knew to tell us when he needed to go. So rather than constantly prompting him, like we did with Harper, he could identify the feeling and tell us when he needed to go. He exceeded my expectations and it was all because he was SO ready for it. He made me a very proud mamma.

Toilet Train your Toddler
Cutest thing ever!! Harper reading the toilet book to Paxton when he was just learning to use the toilet to help him relax and do a poo.

Differences between Toilet Training Boys versus Girls

Ok now for the differences that I noticed between toilet training boy versus girl…



They are often ready and wanting to be toilet trained earlier than boys. More inclined to want to stay in nappies longer.
They sit when they wee and poo!!

Soooo easy! Makes the pooing come more naturally.


Stand to wee and sit to poo. Makes pooing a bit more scary and sometimes it takes them longer to grasp the idea of pooing on the toilet. Some parents choose to teach their boys to wee sitting first and then later on teach them to stand. There is no right and wrong with this. Do what works for you and your child. We taught Pax to stand from the start. It just required a good stool for him to stand on.
You need to teach girls how to wipe. Front to back. And how important that is not to get poo in their vagina. Boys are messier! You need to teach them to aim and then to shake it off! Plus, when they sit, you need to teach them to point it down! I learnt that the hard way with Paxton and got weed on a few times in the first few days.
Logistically much harder to go if no toilets around. There were plenty of times in the early days where we’d be out on a walk and Harper needed to wee then and there. I’d have to take everything off  – shoes, socks, undies, pants… So annoying. So much easier to go quickly when they need to go! Don’t need to strip off all their cloths to do a wee like you have to with a girl. I’ve really appreciated this having a boy second. So much easier.
Tip: Let her watch you so she can copy how you do it. Tip: Make sure he watches how dad stands for wees and sits for poos. And how he shakes off the wee.
Tip: Using gender specific books really helped us. Tip: Using gender specific books really helped as Paxton was used to watching Harper. So they really explained to him the difference with standing/sitting and wees/poos.


Toilet Train your Toddler
This is a great book for both sexes. I bought it recently for Paxton and he loved it. It talks about thinking about things to help you relax when you sit on the toilet. Helped him to relax and poo.
Toilet Train Your Toddler
A great toilet training book for girls
Toilet Train your Toddler
A great toilet training book for boys


Please remember, all children are different. Just keep in mind, once you start toilet training it might take days, weeks or months, each child is so different. The key is to not push your child, keep it fun and positive and let them learn at their own pace. Reward the good but do not punish or get angry at the bad. Try not to compare yourself to others. They all get there in the end, don’t they?!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and found it helpful in making the decision if now is the right time to toilet train your toddler. If you have any questions for me or would just like to get in touch, I’d LOVE to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send me and email via the Contact Tab.

Mel xox

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Disclaimer: Cooper and Kids will not be liable for anything that happens to you, your dog or children by following the advice and tips in this article. If you have real concerns or worries about your dog and/or safety of your children, please seek out a professional to come and assess the situation asap.



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