Stop Asking Kids If They Need To Use The Toilet, Expert Says It Doesn't Work

This actually makes a lot of sense.
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A paediatric occupational therapist has suggested parents are making a major mistake by asking their kids: “Do you want to go to the toilet?”

In a TikTok video that’s been viewed more than one million times, child development expert Emma Hubbard (@brightest.beginning) said: “I can guarantee when you ask your child this question, 99% of the time they are going to say ‘no’.”

So why are kids so averse to this common sense question? Well it turns out that going to the toilet is “boring” and “they would prefer to play” – fair enough.

On top of that, they’re also learning what those body signals mean to say they need to go to the toilet, she says. So it’s not necessarily clear cut for them that they do need to go.


When you see your toddler jumping on the spot, crossing their legs or holding themselves you might automatically say “Do you want to go to the toilet?”. This makes sense. But when you ask your child if they need to go to the toilet they will most likely say “No”. Most toddlers don’t enjoy going to the toilet. This might be because the toilet is scary or they would prefer to continue playing. So next time you see your little one jumping on the spot, highlight what their body is doing and then tell them “It’s toilet time!”. When you do this, you’re helping them understand what their body feels like when they need to go to the bathroom, as well as removing the option to say no. #toilettraining #toilettrainingtips #newparent #newmom #newdad #toddlerdevelopment

♬ original sound - Emma Hubbard - Pediatric OT

Hubbard recommends for parents to instead highlight what you’re seeing and what it means. So, for example, saying: “Sarah, you’re jumping on the spot. Your body is saying it needs to go to the toilet. It’s toilet time.”

Stating it like this takes away the option for your child to say ‘no’, explains Hubbard.

You’re also helping to increase their awareness of what the body does when it’s trying to tell them they need a wee or poo.

“Yes!” said one person in the comments section. “I’ve never understood why parents ask their child if they want to do something when it’s a mandatory task that they can’t say no to.”

Lots of parents agreed the advice is useful – although some did suggest their kids still refuse to go to the toilet, even when they tell them they need it.

But one person disagreed with the advice, suggesting never asking the question is a bit “dramatic”.

“Asking them allows them to ask themselves,” they said. “Then you can acknowledge the signs and help them understand.”