SOME are still mastering the skill aged five, while comedian Katherine Ryan's kids were experts by eight months.

Most children start potty training around the age of two – but how long it takes until they're completely out of nappies varies hugely.

According to childcare specialist Shada Lambert, there is no right or wrong time to start because every tot is different.

Mum-of-two Katherine claims she stuck her daughter Violet and son Fred on the potty as soon as they started on solid foods, and they were past the nappy stage completely aged eight months.

But other parents find their little ones are still struggling to stay dry throughout the day and night once they're approaching school age, she says.

If you and your child are at the stage where you might be ready to give it a go, Shada has the answers.


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The parent coach, also known as Nanny Sharz, said: "Some children will show signs that they’re ready for potty training very early, from around 18 months, but most children will show signs around the toddler stage, from two years old.

"If your little one starts showing signs early on, that’s okay.

"But if your child isn’t showing signs when they’re between two-and-a-half and three years old, that’s okay too. 

"Every child, and their journey, is unique, but ideally you want to aim for them to be potty trained at the latest 12 to 18 months before they start school."

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Does your little one have a dry nappy in the morning? 

Are they coming to you and telling you that they need the toilet? 

Are they having more interest in their bowel movements or the toilet in general? 

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, Shada says it could mean your youngster is ready to start potty training.


Shada reckons you should try to allow a timeframe of four to six weeks to introduce the idea of potty training before attempting to start.

"By that, I mean start to talk to your little one about it so that they get used to the idea and begin to understand what it means, rather than just springing it upon them," she said.

"This should help make the transition from nappy to potty easier."

Shada said parents can use tools such as songs, stories, books, videos and films to help.

She also said it's important for mums and dads to let their children see them on the toilet, and to talk to them about their own bowel movements.

Finally, when you're introducing potty training, Shada said getting them to physically sit on the potty or toilet, practice flushing and washing their hands will help ease them into the idea.

"You’ll lessen any potential anxiety they might have around it," she added.


International nanny Shada recommends giving yourself seven days to practice going to the toilet, sitting on the potty and setting time intervals.

But the most important thing, she said, is to take your time.

"Don’t feel pressured to get your little one potty trained in a time frame that doesn’t work for them," she added.

"Make sure they’re showing signs and if they’re not, wait a little bit longer.

"Families can often put pressure on themselves to get their little one’s potty trained when really, they will learn better in a less stressed environment.

"If you find that you try for a week and it doesn’t work (or is a total disaster) – that’s okay. Wait two more weeks and try again."


When determining whether now is the right time, consider whether you have any life-changing events happening soon.

Are you having a new baby? Are you moving house? Is there going to be a big shift in your little one's routine like a new nursery or school?

It’s recommended not to start potty training if you do have something like this happening. 

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Shada said: "Too much change can be really unsettling for your little one and will make the whole transition more challenging."

Shada's expert guidance was taken from The Early Years Pack – a digital parenting guide from The Positive Birth Company, as seen on Dragons' Den in 2021.

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