Potty Training 101: Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to the agony and ecstasy of potty training, repeat after me: “Motherhood is not a competitive sport”. For on your journey to a nappy-free existence, you will most likely encounter some annoying, if well-meaning, characters along the way.

See, everyone likes to bombard mothers with advice, so you may find yourself having to put your amour (emotional) on to do battle with say a pushy mother-in-law, friend or acquaintance who insist it’s high time your beloved toddler was toilet-trained.

I staunchly ignored such peer/family pressure until I was sure my child was developmentally ready just shy of her third birthday. Some children are, of course, ready before this age and many go later, but I followed my GP’s advice not to pressure our little toilet-training tot and instead wait until she was physiologically and emotionally ready to hit the potty.

Both my GP/daycare carers did say age three was a prime potty-training age, but again I would listen to your own child and await their cues. Ignore other mothers/MILs who will happily sabotage your efforts by saying oh-so-helpful things like: “My Johnny was toilet trained before he could speak etc…”

Don’t buy into the ridiculous “mummy wars” and compare, compete and/or feel anxious. Your toddler’s well-being is all that matters and he/she needs to be motivated to want to do it for starters. You will also want and need to be as positive, relaxed and motivated as your small person. In addition, toddlers have to develop control over their bladders and anal (sphincter) muscles in order to be ready for toilet training. Control only comes from maturation of the central nervous system.

Next up, your little person has to be able to physically get their kit off and verbalise when they want to go to the toilet.

So, what do you do now? Child experts say to physically demonstrate “positive toileting” to your eager and curious tot, who can then mimic your actions, including the all-important wiping from the front-to-the-back to avoid infection, if they are a girl. Here are some other handy hints:

potty training, toddler, toilet training, mummy wars

Potty Training Do’s

  • Embrace nappy pants or pull-ups: When starting out, you might want to play it safe. And while research isn’t conclusive about how beneficial nappy pants are in aiding toilet training, they will safeguard against accidents while your little person makes the transition to cotton undies and starts enjoying some potty successes.
  • Give praise and encouragement: Our little lass’s toilet training efforts have been boosted by “big girl” presents such as Dora the Explorer cotton undies and this equally ridiculous-looking and cute Royal Stepstool Potty (pictured above) by Fisher Price. We also give her stickers and high praise after each potty success, even belated mentions, as it takes practice for kids to recognise signs of impending bladder and bowel movements and make it to the potty in time.
  • Prompt your child regularly: Prompt your little person to go independently at the start. Ask often, perhaps every hour, if your child needs to go to the toilet. At first, you might be better at detecting your toddler’s bodily signals than he/she is. Even if you’re too late and he/she’s already done the deed, have them sit on the potty anyway to reinforce the connection.

Potty Training Don’ts 

  • Never punish, nag or shame: Be careful of your body language as children are very perceptive. You are your child’s cheer squad so play nice. Punishment for an accident is not cool and never OK.
  • Don’t expect too much too soon: Toilet training can take time, so be patient. If your expectations are unrealistic, you could diminish your child’s self-confidence. Our little lass now loves the potty and child experts say your toddler will realise, sooner or later, that it really is better to use the potty than wear nappies.
  • Don’t put pressure on them: Motherhood is not a race so wait until your child is ready. Some child experts claim putting pressure on a child to toilet train too early can lead to bed wetting.

Main image via and secondary image via

September 18, 2014

Easy Tips For Potty Training

Toilet training your child doesn’t have to be a painful experience for you, or for them. Toddlers are transitioning into a new period in their lives, and working through potty training with patience and optimism is the best way to make it work. Once you’ve commenced the process of toilet training, be aware that any progress may take a few weeks to show, until children begin to understand what is required of them. Sticking to a routine is the best way to give your child an easy transition from nappies to the potty.

When are they ready?

Children are usually toilet trained from the age of two, although some kids are ready earlier or later than this age. Generally the number one sign is when children become more independent with various tasks, and tell you in one way or another when their nappy is full and are ready to be changed. A number of factors are important when one considers toilet training their child. Most daycare facilities prefer if children are toilet trained, so make sure you have enough time to train your child before they head off to daycare.

The potty

The first step is picking out a potty for your child. Try to involve them as much as you can in the process, and let them pick out something with a design that they like. There are many different colours, patterns and cartoon characters which are fun for children to interact with. The more they grow accustomed to it, the less they will become afraid of it.


Sticking to a daily routine is the best way to get children to adjust to any new feature in their lives. Include the potty in conversation, and make it something which is accessible to children at any time of the day. Start with getting children on the potty when they wake up and go to sleep, and they will start to wander off and do it themselves in no time.

Remind them when it’s time to go

Children can get sidetracked extremely fast, and this could lead to accidents when they’re starting out. Gently remind or ask them if they need to go, and they will more than likely say yes. Pretty soon they will be able to identify when to go themselves, without being asked. If your child does have the occasional accident, don’t be angry or get them into trouble. They’re just starting out, so be sure to let them know next time to use the potty.


Create a chart and document the amount of times your child uses the potty in a day, week or month. Use fun stamps and stickers to show them how much they have achieved without a nappy. This positive reinforcement will not only make children feel good about themselves, but also excited about the reward they would receive for their wonderful behaviour.

Do you have any tips from potty training your toddler?

Image via PottyTraining.Co.Uk

May 19, 2014

5 Tips For Easy Potty Training

Of all the issues parents face, one of the most challenging is potty training. No matter how many articles you read or how many other moms you talk to, each child handles potty training differently and brings a new set of headaches. It can take six weeks—or it can take six months.

No matter how long it takes to toilet train your child, there will be times when you feel like your toddler will be the only kid in high school still wearing diapers! Don’t despair, because your child really will get potty trained eventually. Here are a few toilet training tips to make it less painful for both of you.

1. Don’t push too early

Some parents turn toilet training into a competition, with bragging rights going to the mom who gets her child out of diapers at the earliest age. Refuse to enter this race, because you can’t win. Your child will get toilet trained when s/he is ready, and pushing for potty use too early is likely to incite rebellion.

2. Start small

Don’t expect a two-year-old to climb up on the toilet right away. Start out with a kid-size potty that sits low to the ground and put it where the child spends most of his/her time. Gradually move the potty closer and closer to the bathroom, then work up to a seat on top of the toilet.

3. Bribes work

Some mums have managed to get their offspring to use the potty by offering rewards, like lollies or money—one for pee, two for poop, three if they wipe. Little boys can get extra credit for aiming at the potty rather than the wall. While this ploy is likely to offer immediate rewards, it can also set you up to have an older (and more devious) child demanded rewards for doing homework or eating vegetables.

4. So does praise. Lots of it

Toileting isn’t easy for your kid, either. When he or she succeeds in using the potty, bring on the praise. Act as thrilled as if the child won an Olympic gold medal or the lottery. Clap your hands and cheer. Give the toddler your undivided attention and reward this accomplishment with hugs and kisses.

5. If at first you don’t succeed…

Try putting the child on the potty every 10 minutes until something happens. Sooner or later, your child will have to go. Then go to 15, then 20. With time, your toddler will develop a predictable rhythm. Soon, your potty training days will be over!

What are your best potty training tips?


August 4, 2013