Toilet Learning

Toilet Learning

Every child is different when it comes to toilet learning. Most children start around the age of 2 but this is not always the case. It is important for you to know your child's developmental stage. It is also important to know their cues for toilet learning through the process.

Keep in mind that even if your child is develop ing well, they must also be motivated for toilet learning to occur. Your child's temperament can also play a role in their readiness to begin toilet learning. 

Your child may be ready to use the toilet when:

  • They show interest (for example, by watching you) 
  • Their diaper is dry for a few hours in a row
  • They are steady when sitting on the toilet
  • They can follow simple instructions
  • They ask to use the toilet
  • They show independence
  • They can pull their pants up and down

Know that even if your child stays dry all day, it may take a few more months for them to stay dry during naps and at night.

Toilet learning is not always a quick process. It can take up to 6 months before your child is out of diapers after introducing toilet learning. Be patient, accidents will happen. Make sure you allow time every day to help your child practise.

Wait to start toilet learning if there are big changes such as a move, new baby, or illness.

For more suggestions on toilet learning, visit the Canadian Paediatric Society.


Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit
  • Connect with other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.

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