Potty Training Is Child's Play!...

Potty Training Is Child's Play!...I was stunned to read a recent report finding many children turn up at school without being potty trained. Stunned because it doesn't have to be this way! You can take the anxiety out of potty training for both you and your child if you follow my 10 top tips:

1/Ready, Steady, Go!

Every child develops at a different rate with both their physical coordination and their emotional maturity. This is why it's confusing when your best pal has potty training success with her 14-month-old but you think your child’s barely ready at 20 months. This is why child-care experts find it hard to agree.

A good rule-of-thumb is to start daytime potty training when your child can sit and walk well in a coordinated fashion - and that’s anything between 12 and 20 months.

2/ Be Prepared

As the motto goes be prepared! You don't have to buy an expensive, all-singing-all-dancing potty but you can a plain one child-friendly and personalise it. Buy some of their favourite cartoon or animal character stickers to put on it. Buy a changing/training mat to put under the potty to catch any leakage.

To begin with, their potty can be part of their bedroom furniture. Place it somewhere convenient like near their cot or changing area. This way it becomes a "familiar friend" and part of their life with no stress attached.

3/ Potty-Chat

Start by chatting in a relaxed way about when they ‘wee’ or ‘poo’ (or whatever names you use) when you change their nappy. You can say things like: "Your nappy catches your wee and that's what a potty does - it catches it. Just like when mum or dad goes to the loo on their big potty." And add, "When you're bigger you can use your very own potty here." - and then point to their potty.

Chat like this, about such things, in enthusiastic and not stressed-out tones. Make remarks about them being a "big boy" or a "big girl" because they have their own potty.

4/ Consistency

Now for my "Five Cs of successful” potty training - the first ‘C’ being consistency.

Once you introduce the potty in to their bedroom (and eventually move it into the big bathroom next to mum and dad's big potty) it's important that you consistently mention it whenever you change their nappy. That way they start to associate changing their nappy with talking about the potty that’s for “big boys and girls”.

Likewise once you start sitting them on it, you need to do so consistently when you think it's about time to change their nappy.


It NEVER helps with potty training to get angry with your child when they miss the pot or don't want to sit on it at any particular time. Always keep calm. When you start getting stressed, if your child has any reason to, they'll know in future they can ‘wind you up’ over the potty.

This is particularly true when you decide they're ready to start sitting on it. Make sure you're not rushed so that you feel calm. Check their nappy to see if it's still dry. If dry, but you think it's around the time that they might wet it, ask if they'd like to sit on the potty “like a big boy or girl”.

Remember: calmness is crucial! If they say they don't want to sit on it be completely chilled-out about that. You can suggest it again next time.


Have confidence in yourself and your child. They can sense it if you don't have confidence in them - or in yourself! And the reason why I say to have confidence in your self is because lots of mums get little phobias about potty training. They think it's going to be so difficult when actually it's a very down-to-earth process that can be accomplished fairly quickly.


You know your own child and it's important to use your knowledge and get creative with it to help the potty training process. If they have a favourite cuddly toy then sit it on a little make-believe potty next to your child’s potty. You can chat about it becoming a big boy or girl (or a big bear or rabbit - or whatever toy it is!) just like they are.

Or if they have favourite music that you know puts them in a happy mood, turn it on when you're going to pop them on the potty.


Successful potty training is far more about commonsense than most mums think. There's nothing magical about it - it’s helping your child learn a new skill. And what does common sense tell you? That when they learn a new skill they need lots of praise!

You don't have to go over-the-top but begin by praising them if they sit on the potty for a short time regardless of whether they do anything in it. Next you can praise them when they hit the jackpot and wee or poo in it.

Keep the praise coming and let your commonsense guide you about when they’re ready to sit on the potty regularly - and to stop wearing nappies and put on toddler’s training pants.

Again you can be enthusiastic about them wearing "big boys or girls" underpants.

9/ Night Time Tips

When your child’s got to grips with daytime potty training you can start thinking about night-time training. Always begin by thinking about their fluid intake. They shouldn't drink much after their evening meal besides one drink of water - or juice if that's what they're used to.

Always put them on the potty before they go to bed and let them sit for a few minutes maybe while you read a couple pages of a story. You can keep them in their nappy during this initial phase but chat about the fact that one day they’ll sleep without a nappy when they’re ready.

The quickest way to get them trained at night is to gently wake them before you go to bed - say around midnight - pop them on their own potty and see if they wee. Put them back to bed and one morning you might find them completely dry.

Once they've had a number of dry mornings you can take them out of their night-time nappy. It's a good idea to put a nighttime, easy wash, sheet underneath them until they’re regularly dry at night.

Don't forget to praise them in the morning!

10/Your Effort Will Pay off

Believe me your efforts will pay off - sometimes in only a couple weeks. And the payoff for your child is immeasurable. Children who show up at school with wetting problems can become exceedingly insecure. They get teased and ridiculed. They might end up with years of wetting problems because they lack confidence about this and they haven't developed good bladder and bowel control.

Good luck - you can do it - potty training doesn't have to drive you potty!

A similar article was published in the Sun newspaper

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