Potty training tips, tricks and productsPosted: 28/07/2014
Advice on starting potty training, with my personal tips, links to useful articles and some of the products that we’ve found to be helpful…
We’ve just started our adventures in potty training, something I put off for quite a while. I thought it might be useful to round up some of the products we’ve used to potty training, as well as provide links to a few articles I read beforehand and share some of my personal tips.
My top ten potty training tips
I’m by no means an expert but these are some of the things we’ve done that seem to have worked!
1. Wait until you think your toddler is ready
I may have put potty training off just slightly but I do feel it’s helped ToddlerGirl grasp it very quickly.
2. Introduce the idea of potty training beforehand
Talk a lot about using a potty, going to the toilet, wee and poo before you begin to gear your toddler up for when you start.
3. Be as matter of fact as possible about the whole thing
Give a lot of praise when it goes well and be completely calm and positive if there is an accident – there will almost definitely be accidents!
4. Be prepared for your own reactions
The first time ToddlerGirl did a poo on the potty, she was quite horrified and, I have to admit, I was too! It was very different to a dirty nappy. Luckily, I hid my reaction well because I don’t think it would have helped her at all if I’d have shown my real feelings! When she talks about poo being ‘bisguisting’, I just say to her that it’s something everyone has to do and try to be very normal about it, instead of agreeing with her that it’s stinky and horrible!
5. Distract your toddler the first few times they are on the potty
To begin with, I was prompting ToddlerGirl to use the potty, which sometimes meant a few minutes of sitting on it before anything happened. We read some books together and I also made up a potty song. These things distracted her long enough for something to happen, at which point I could then make a big fuss of her!
6. Prompt often
Especially to begin with, I needed to remind ToddlerGirl to use the potty at regular intervals. She did start telling me quite quickly herself when she needed a wee but of course was sometimes distracted. Nearly all the accidents we’ve had I would say are my fault for forgetting to check with her if she needed to go.
7. Build potty/toilet time into your routine
We always go before leaving the house. She’s often not keen to do this but I just say very calmly that it’s what we always do before we go out and that Mummy does it too.
8. Start using a toilet seat once the potty is going well
I think the potty was useful as a starting point but we’ve moved quite quickly to using a toilet seat as ToddlerGirl much prefers to sit on the toilet. She also had a bit of a ‘thing’ about doing a poo on the potty and is much less bothered by this on the toilet.
9. Don’t worry about nights
We still use pull ups for the nighttime. But don’t be surprised if your toddler starts waking up to go to the toilet. We’ve had this a few times. It’s a pain as we’re quite content with the way it is right now and would rather the uninterrupted nights! But it’s natural that, as she learns to recognise when she needs a wee, this may mean she notices this at nighttime too.
10. Don’t stress about timescales
ToddlerGirl was doing brilliantly at home but having quite a few accidents at nursery. I suspected this was because she wasn’t being prompted enough while she was still learning what it all felt like. I thought she was a bit upset about having these accidents, though, so I put her in pull ups for her nursery sessions for a couple of weeks. She continued to do really well at home and was soon remaining completely dry in her pull ups at nursery, at which point I transitioned her to knickers.
Oh, and a bonus tip – Make sure you have lots of changes of clothes handy!
I have a bag of extra clothes in our change bag, with two to three spare pairs of knickers and bottoms. I also bring a couple of spare pairs of knickers downstairs with me in the morning so I have them to hand if I need them.
Potty training products
Here are some of the items we’ve found useful as we embarked on our potty training journey. (NB: includes affiliate links.)
Princess Polly’s Potty
This has been a really useful book to read before and during our potty training. It explains it all very clearly and matter of factly and has a cheer button to press, which I used to begin with whenever ToddlerGirl had success on her potty! We’ve also read Pip and Posy: The Little Puddle, which was a good story to use to talk about accidents.
Pourty Easy to Pour Potty
We started off with a cheap potty from our local supermarket but it wasn’t very comfortable and ToddlerGirl didn’t like sitting on it. There are some very expensive potties out there but this one is under a tenner and we’ve been really pleased with it. It also really is very easy to pour the contents away!
Potette Plus portable potty
A friend recommended this and it is just great. The potty folds up neatly but is still sturdy when in use. You put a liner bag in it to catch the wee/poo, which then you can just dispose of like a nappy sack. It comes in a little carry bag which fits nicely in our change bag. And it also can fold outwards to act as a portable toilet seat, which is coming in very handy now.
Koo-di Wetec Baby Seat Protector
I probably wouldn’t have bought this but we were given it by some friends and, I have to admit, it is actually very useful. We’ve had a couple of accidents in the car and it’s meant that all we had to do was whip the seat protector off and give it a wash, instead of having to scrub the carseat!
Pull up trainer pants
I was in two minds about these, having heard mixed reports on their usefulness. But we’ve found them to be good. I call them ToddlerGirl’s special nappy knickers so that she distinguishes them from regular nappies! I only use them if we are going somewhere that an accident would be tricky to deal with, such as soft play. (I don’t even want to think about an accident in the ball pit!) We also use them at night now. I still encourage ToddlerGirl to tell me if she needs to go to the toilet and I don’t think they have set her back at all (although we are very laid back about the timescale in which she will be completely dry in).
These were particularly useful when we first started our potty training and were keeping the potty in the living room area, as it meant we had the wipes to hand but could just put them down the toilet with the rest of the contents of the potty. They are also useful out and about, and ToddlerGirl really likes the smell of them!
Antibacterial floor wipes
Because there will be accidents and these make them super easy to clear up! We also have a spray carpet and upholstery cleaner but have only had to use this a couple of times (once on our carpet and once on the carseat).
Lots and lots of knickers/pants!
ToddlerGirl loves clothes and dressing up so was very interested in choosing some ‘big girl’ knickers. Of course she went for the princess ones, despite my attempts to steer her to something less pink. I decided that this was not the time to worry about too much pink in her wardrobe, as it’s great that she’s enthusiastic about wearing them at least!
Useful potty training links
- Toilet training tips – a great series of blog posts on Childhood 101 where real mums talk about their experiences.
- The Potty Training Readiness Quiz – I do love a quiz; this one from the No Cry Potty Training Solution helps to gauge whether now is the right time to start potty training your toddler.
- Potty training readiness – a checklist from Baby Centre.
- The No Cry Potty Training Solution – useful excerpts from the book, including Get Ready, Get Set, Go! plus some Q&As if you encounter problems.
- Potty training guide – preparing for potty training, getting started and a whole lot more from Netmums.
Have you gone through potty training yet? Add your tips below!