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Potty training tips for success

Helping your little one to succeed

Tips from real mums on how they coped with potty training

Every mum who’s ever been there has a tip to share about potty training. We've collected some of the best from the community to help you and your little one succeed.

At a glance

  • Let your child decide when they are ready
  • Talk about potty training before you start
  • Rewards are a great incentive

Let your little one decide when they are ready

Lots of people told me the moment my twin boys turned two that I should start potty training. I bought two potties which then stayed on the bathroom floor for nearly six months and needed regular dusting due to lack of use! Then one morning one of my sons got up and said he needed a wee, and the other one decided to copy. I kept their nappies on for a week then took them off and they had underpants. Within four days they were dry - no accidents. My advice is let them decide. It was less stress and it was on their terms.

Don’t just start potty training one day

Talk about potties and wees and poos first so they get the idea, and get books from the library about potties. Our favourite was I Want My Potty by Tony Ross.

Rewards can really help

My sister gave her son a chocolate coin every time he did a wee in the potty, which worked brilliantly. I wrapped up some little presents – stickers, pens, just tiny things – and put them into a big pink gift bag for my daughter. Every time she did a wee on the potty she could choose a surprise. When the presents were gone after a few days she got a sticker instead – 10 stickers got her a trip to the toy shop.

Potty or toilet?

My son hated the potty as he said it was too small! So we let him sit on the toilet instead and he was thrilled with the idea that he was the same as mum and dad.

Pull-ups or pants?

I would say don’t bother with pull-ups – it’s too like wearing a nappy and they don’t really feel wet. Straight to pants seems scary but it’s quicker if they’re up for it.

Accidents happen

Don't try to make too much of a big thing of potty training. At first I read stories or sang nursery rhymes to make him relax while he was on the potty. If accidents happen, make sure they know it’s ok - accidents happen.

Get your childminder on board

If you work, get your childcarer on board. We wondered why potty training seemed to be taking so long – turned out her childminder was putting her in pull-ups while she did the school run.

Pooing phobia

My son had some kind of phobia about doing his poos anywhere except in his night-time pull-up. He’d hold it in all day. The Health visitor suggested we sit him on the potty with a balloon to blow up or a toy trumpet to blow. It uses the same muscles, apparently. Hey presto! After that he seemed to turn a corner and all his poos started going in the potty.

At a glance

  • Let your child decide when they are ready
  • Talk about potty training before you start
  • Rewards are a great incentive
Accidents happen, it's all part of learning, just let them know it's ok

Potty training tips for success