My top tips for potty training

Seven months ago we (I) decided that it was time to potty train our almost-two-year old.

I was very pregnant and my daughter hated having her nappy changed. Every time I would have to chase her round her room and pin her down, which was not much fun when I didn’t have the agility of a beached whale, but now was becoming impossible and exhausting. Also I did not want to have two in nappies. The nappies would have to go.

I’m not going to pretend it was easy. Far from it. The first two and a half days were a disaster. There was wee everywhere. I was in tears. I spent most of my day mopping up wee from the floor (again while heavily pregnant) while trying to stop my daughter from walking in it or weeing somewhere else.

Then suddenly on the third day in the afternoon, she started to cooperate. And it was pretty much done. We had a few accidents here and there but nothing significant. (Until the new baby arrived. But that’s a separate issue…)

So, here are my top tips for a stressful, but ultimately successful, potty training experience. (I appreciate that having said that my next child will be impossible to potty train.)

1. Get this book.

Oh crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki

I got it out of the library, you could buy it or borrow it from a friend. But however you do it, get your hands on a copy. It’s great. It’s easy to read. It makes sense. It doesn’t try to make potty training seem easy. It works.

2. Buy a lot of kitchen roll. And disinfectant wipes.

You will need them. You don’t have time to get the mop out every time your child wees on the floor in the first few days.

3. Don’t potty train your toddler when you’re seven months pregnant if you can help it.

I’m speaking from experience here. You will be hormonal; your toddler will be upset. This is not a good combination. You will find having to bend down to mop the floor twenty times (at least) in a day requires superhuman effort. And you will not be able to drink alcohol or even copious amounts of caffeine to see you through.

4. Confine your child to non-carpeted areas. If you have a garden, potty train in the summer!

I sadly do not have a garden. Thankfully we also have very little carpet. But invest in some Vanish for carpets, too. Toddlers are after all master escape artists.

5. If you have a girl, get some knee socks.

Dresses are easier than trousers for quick dashes to the loo. (And nighties rather than pyjamas at night time.) But a dress paired with tights is complicated, so have your child wear knee socks for a bit.

6. At the beginning take a potty everywhere.

My daughter was scared of loos, even with a travel trainer seat. She would wet herself rather than use one. To avoid a scene in a public loo, just take a potty. Also very useful if there is a queue because little ones can’t hold it in.

7. Always, always have spare clothes.

Obviously. The one day you leave the house without, will be the day your little darling wets themselves and you’re out for the whole day.

8. Make sure your child sits up straight.

On the loo, mainly. But good posture is never a bad thing. The temptation to look at what’s going on is strong. The problem is, if they do, wee will squirt upwards and cover the loo seat, their pants, the floor, you

9. Get back up.

Two pairs of eagle eyes are better than one and if you can have someone else there to deal with mopping up while you deal with child, so much the better.

9 thoughts on “My top tips for potty training”

  1. Great tips. Its made me think – I really need to start with my younger son. I’d really recommend the book I Want My Potty by Tony Ross as a nice introduction to the potty too. #ItsOK

  2. Oh help, it will be potty time for us in maybe six months, so not looking forward to that joy! Thanks for the tip off about the book and the disinfectant wipes. Very helpful! Not delighted about taking a potty out and about! 😂 #It’sOK

  3. My almost 4-year-old was so determined he wasn’t going to do it that I gave up – then one day he just woke up & potty trained himself – bingo! #itsok

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