How to introduce potty training to a toddler - What Katy Said

How to introduce potty training to a toddler

Inside: How we have gently introduced a potty for a successful transition into training.

Potty training can be listed up there with moving house on the stress levels. There are the accidents, the refusal to cooperate and the constant need to remind them if they need to go.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have already been through potty training twice and have had very different experiences each time. The first time was an absolute breeze, being done and dusted within a day or two. I was so pleased with myself and didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

What is it they say?

A well-behaved firstborn gives you confidence that you’re a good mum. A challenging second child teaches you not to judge other mothers.

Believe me, the second time was not such a breeze.

When my second-born struggled with potty training it made me panic. Was I doing something wrong? Was there something wrong with her? Will she ever get it?

Let me tell you now, they do it when they are ready.

Once I stopped forcing the issue and let her do it in her own time – she got it in one day! No accidents, no stress. She did it a year later than her sister, but it really didn’t matter.

How to introduce potty training

I am now going through the process for the third (and final!!) time. I now know what not to do and that I need to go at his pace. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t put the wheels in motion already.

I want to share what I’ve been doing already to prepare him for the process.

INTRODUCE A POTTY EARLY. The last thing you want to do is thrust a potty at them and expect them to want to sit on it straight away.

We have had a potty in the hallway for the last six months and when it first appeared he wanted to know what it was. He even wanted to have a little sit on it. He had a couple of successful wees too, but he was nowhere near ready. But he is happy to sit on it, he knows what it is for and he isn’t worried about it.

We also have a potty in the bathroom – except he doesn’t even know it. It is the Bumbo 3 in 1 Step ‘N’ Potty (aff link) and it is brilliant.

We have it as a step right now, so he can reach up and clean his teeth and he loves it! But when the time comes, it can transform into a potty for him.

And then, when he makes the transition to sitting on the toilet, it handily changes into a small seat with a step to climb up. It has so many great features – would definitely recommend it!

So make sure to get yourself a potty and leave it around for your little one to see and get used to. You could even get a doll with a potty to help with the idea.

READ BOOKS. Stories frame ideas in a way that makes them fun and exciting. They also explain them in such a way that little ones can grasp. If they can see a fun character doing something then they are much more likely to want to copy. You can sit and read them together or even leave a pile of books near the potty to encourage them to sit there.

There are so many great potty training books but one of our favourites is the Pirate Pete and Princess Polly range. They talk them through the whole process in a way is simple and fun.

LET THEM SEE YOU GO TO THE TOILET. I mean probably the only time when we actually want them to follow us in, right? But it really does help them – you could always ask if they want to sit on their potty at the same time.

As I said, we have a potty upstairs and one downstairs but eventually, we’ll convert the Bumbo potty into the toilet seat to help him get used to sitting on the toilet. Something I have no idea about is teaching boys to stand up to wee – do you have any tips?

PRACTICE. Before you get rid of the nappies, let them practice by sitting on the potty with all of their clothes on. When they do a poo, plop it out of the nappy and into the potty so they can see where it needs to go. Wees seem to be much easier for children to handle but poos cause a lot of stress for them. I think it is because they can feel it coming compared to wees that just come out.

Another thing to practice is the process of washing their hands. Whenever I change his nappy I make him wash his hands now, so he associates going to the toilet with keeping clean. Again, watching you do this will help them get the idea.

By practising these steps before the real training begins, it helps them to feel more at ease with the idea. And that means that when it is time to make the transition to doing everything for real, with no nappies on, it is just that little bit easier.


I hope you found that useful! Let me know if you have any tips for getting little ones started. If you’re still struggling then do take a look at my post about potty training stubborn toddlers.

We were gifted the Bumbo potty in return for inclusion in this post. But it is brilliant and as always, I only share products I would buy and use anyway.

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