How We Nailed Potty Training With No Meltdowns Or Breakdowns

Potty training tips

Potty training are two words that can ensue two very different reactions; excitement, that you no longer have to spend silly amounts of money on nappies and time cleaning dirty bums, or dread, that the process will be hard, long and unsuccessful.

Before Ada was even two years old we were having comments thrown around about her being “ready”, and how we should be starting potty training her; mostly from her nursery, and occasionally other family members. So we went out, bought the necessary equipment, spent a couple days cleaning up wee patches and drying tears after suggesting she could sit on her potty, then gave up, deciding she just wasn’t ready yet.

Fast forward two months later, and in the space of a week nailed potty training; we went from changing nappies to using the potty or toilet, and being dry in the night in. a. week. So here’s what we did..

Introduce it early

As I mentioned, we started our potty training process a couple months before Ada decided she was ready, and I think having a potty and her little steps up the toilet around early helped. It wasn’t this new, alien thing that was suddenly shoved into her life that she had to master, and she had a couple months to get used to the idea of it. We would also play with it, putting her dollies on it, even sometimes trying to put Mummy on it. She became really comfortable with it before she made her own decision to start actually using it.

Let them get involved

Ada was involved in every step of preparation for potty training, so despite meaning standing around in Aldi for ten minutes whilst we chose between the purple and pink potty, she got to pick it. We did the same with her knickers (of which Peppa Pig printed ones won, obviously..) and the same with her night time pull-ups. At her age she really is turning into Miss Independant, so it made her feel involved and in control of everything.

There is no rush

Sadly we seem to live in a time where there are some super-competitive parents and too much unsolicited parenting advice, and I think this is the downfall for a lot of people. If we’d have perserved with potty training when Ada’s nursery kept insisting she was ready for it, there would have been a whole load of tears, stress and clean-ups. Instead we pushed it back, didn’t rush Ada, and essentially she just sat on the potty one day and decided she didn’t really fancy nappies anymore.

If you’ve been trying to perservere through for a couple weeks and your kid is still having regular accidents, perhaps they’re just not ready yet. Wait another month and give it a go again. I read somewhere that really, you only need to start worrying when your child is about 3 and a half and still are in nappies, but most of us are keen to get started around two years old, so there is plenty of time.

Praise, praise and more praise

Ada’s been potty trained for 2-3 months now, and still after all that time she still gets up off the potty or toilet after she’s done her business, throws her arms up into the air and shouts “I’ve done a wee-weeeeee!” and we still praise her for it. At first we bought a reward chart, which worked well although she didn’t quite understand at first why she couldn’t stick all her stickers all over it. But a simple high-five and “good job!” worked with us, and we praised her when she actually went and when she just attempted to.

Don’t stress

Kids are bloomin’ marvellous at picking up every single vibe, so if they do have an accident and you stress about it, they’ll know. No-one likes adding to the already overflowing washing pile or having to scrub wee smells out of a car seat, but it’s just one of those things, part of the process. Even without any stress from us, Ada was pretty devastated the couple times she had a little accident, so we made sure to reassure her through that too.

It’s hard to write posts like this because of course, every child is different, so these are just the things that worked for us. I think essentially, letting Ada go at her own pace and not forcing anything on us really helped, and she was obviously so ready to do it as she’s dry in the night too. We used pull-ups for about a week when she was sleeping (referred to as her “night-time knickers”), but over half were dry, so we just stopped. There’s been a couple accidents but since then she’s been completely dry – we’re so proud of her!

Do you have any tips for how to ease the potty training process?


Catherine McCourt

Catherine McCourt is the editor of Hey, Mama, a parenting, interiors and business blog designed to help you create a beautiful home on a budget and a kick-ass career whilst you’re at it.

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