5 Tips for successful toilet training

As a nursery nurse and mother of two I feel like the last 10 years I have done nothing but toilet train! It can often be an exhausting, messy process that many parents find daunting. There is no ‘right time’ no two children are the same but I would advise beginning the process no later than two and a half. It could take a week, it could take months, success looks different for every family. From my experience this is what I have found to work for the majority of children.



It’s as simple as that. Talk to a child about the process of going to the toilet, read potty books, sing silly songs about poo! Make sure the idea is firmly planted in their head of what they are expected to do. The internet is full of short potty training videos and most children’s programs have an episode about using the toilet. I started this process with my son a good few months before ditching nappies and it worked a treat! He would often say to me “look mummy, I got pants like Pirate Pete”


That’s right. It may be embarrassing but letting your little one into the bathroom with you is a vital part of toilet training. Children learn from what they see and by watching you the whole process can become normal to them. Watching you also shows them that it’s not just about going to the toilet, but flushing and washing hands too. Just get ready for your toddler to proudly announce in public while jumping in a puddle “Splash, like Daddies poo!”


Well done! It means a lot to a child to see that you are genuinely pleased with them. Every attempt on the potty or toilet should be praised. Even if they just sit and do nothing, even if they miss or don’t make it in time. They are trying of their own free will and that in itself is an excellent achievement. Always be mindful of what you say and how you behave. Children are easily discouraged by negativity and pressure.


When you are trying to shake poo out of a pair of pants for the third time that morning as your naked child who “not need the potty” skips merrily through the house, it’s easy to get a bit frazzled. Try your absolute best to stay calm. In a few months you will look back on these times and laugh…or at least breathe a sigh of relief. It won’t last forever and will be a much more pleasant situation if your child feels they can tell you that they have had an accident (even if it is 30 seconds after they got off the bloody potty!). Toilet training doesn’t need to involve shouting or tears, keep calm, shove your head in a cupboard and eat some chocolate.


Once the nappy is off, its off! Going in the car, to the shops, out for a walk are all normal parts of life. It is extremely confusing to a child to be put back into a nappy whilst toilet training. Essentially it gives the child the impression that you have no confidence in them and that they won’t even be given the opportunity to not have an accident. They will have accidents. Of course they will but it is all part of the learning process. My best advice is to be prepared, pack spare clothes and take wipes and a potty wherever you go.

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