Learning how to perform the splits can take a long time depending on your current fitness level, mobility, and state of flexibility. However, it's a great stretch to add your arsenal of techniques and it's just plain impressive!
Start off by warming up with some basic joint mobility to get the blood flowing and your muscles warm. Then build a base level of flexibility by regularly performing basic stretches such as groin stretches, hip and quad stretches, sit and reach stretches etc. Hold each stretch multiple times in what ever order you choose for 30sec - 1min. Once you feel comfortable with these and no longer find them challenging or intense, you'll be ready to move onto the next stage!
Attempting the Splits Stretch:
Most people will not even be able to lower themselves far enough to place their hands on the ground at first. In order to work towards this I would suggest placing your hands on a bench or chair, lower yourself to the point of tension but not pain and hold for 30sec - 1min. Repeat as many times as you like. Slowly over time you'll be able to lower yourself to the point where you can place your hands on the ground and you'll be only a few inches away from performing the full splits.
Reaching The Full Splits:
Being able to perform the splits takes time, practice, and dedication. It's not the easiest accomplishment and may take months or even years in some cases. Ease into it slowly, take your time and never push through pain! Once you're able to perform the splits you can start to get creative and link it into other exercises such as hand stands and other gymnastic holds.