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Mother with her Child

What is toilet learning?

Discover all the benefits and how it works...

What is Toilet Learning?

A natural way of guiding your child to learn about their body and how to stay clean.  Toilet learning is just a gentle and respectful manner of getting used to using a toilet and practicing good hygiene from birth to 18 months, and beyond.  You already help your baby by offering comfort, food and sleep.  Why not help with toileting?  Just as we teach babies to use a spoon, wipe their nose, or throw a ball, we can also teach toileting.  Its a normal bodily function and they are very capable of participating at any age if you give them a chance. 

Half of the world's children are out of nappies by their first birthday because they learn to toilet early in cultures where nappies aren't easily available or accessible (e.g. Africa, China, Russia, India, South America, etc).  In the western world, the concept of holding baby out to pee or poo was also common until the invention and significant marketing of disposable nappies and the subsequent toddler toilet training industry.  Now, baby toilet learning is gradually being rediscovered because of its many benefits.

Its about using a nappy as a back-up, not a toilet

Believe it or not, your child wasn’t born wanting to soil a nappy.  Like many mammals, and adults, babies don’t enjoy sitting in their own waste or 'soiling their nest'.  Getting sprayed with pee or poo as soon as a nappy comes off is common with newborns but lessens as they learn to use the nappy as a toilet.


With baby toilet learning a nappy is considered a back-up rather than as toilet in itself.  It is a great tool to give peace of mind and stay relaxed about the learning process.  There are various styles of nappies available, and each feel different to your baby and can serve different purposes for you too; use the right one at the right time to support you.

Mother and a Child

It's not toilet training

Toilet training is a necessary 'fix' in a society that has normalised full-time use of nappies.  Just a few decades ago almost all babies were using a toilet by 18 months. Now, unfortunately, the age for toilet training has increased massively in the western world, and while some sail through it there are many others who struggle to train their 2, 3, 4 or even 5 year olds who have only ever known the life of using a nappy as a toilet.  


Their brain has to relearn that peeing and pooing is worth paying attention to, and which muscles to use, and some find it difficult emotionally, suffering from strong feelings of embarrassment or shame at not mastering a seemingly simple bodily function and disappointing their caregivers or missing out on pre-promised rewards.  This can lead to other issues like 'holding' constipation, anxiety or just not wanting to learn until later due to these negative associations.  

If your child is over 18 months and has used nappies extensively then you could try a combination toilet learning/potty training approach such as described in this book, or seek out another gentle and respectful form of toilet training.

Siblings in White

How old is your baby?

Learn how to get started by clicking the age-appropriate course below...

How old is your baby?

0-3 months

Sleeping Newborn

The easiest age to form associations and get in lots of practice.

3-6 months

Sleeping Baby

Very receptive phase where caregivers often feel more confident.

6-9 months

Red Head Baby

More mobile babies have stronger backs to support sitting.

9-18 months

Baby Learning to Walk

Curious and imitating makes for a great time to learn.

18 months +

Toddler Girl Chasing Bubbles

More capable verbal communication is useful when learning.

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