1. Start 'em young

What time of year is it?

The best time to try potty training is in the summer months when your toddler can potter around the garden or uncherished rooms in your home without a nappy on. She can then see what she's producing. As can your visitors.

And nice sunny days mean your extra laundry and soggy rugs will be able to dry out more quickly. And you can open windows, should the need arise.


How long does potty training take?

Bowel control often comes before bladder control and children may be wet in the night for some time after they're dry during the day.

Toilet training is not something you can teach in a day - it may take weeks or months, with minor relapses if your child becomes troubled or ill. You may be lucky though - your toddler may step out of nappies within a couple of weeks and never look back.


Introducing a potty

Adult toilets can seem enormous to toddlers, who often worry they'll fall into them and get flushed away. Try not to encourage this phobia

What sort of potty you buy doesn't really matter. Quantity is a good idea though, so if you want to splash out put potties in rooms all over the house. Time is of the essence and it's best not to have to waste it working out where you last saw the potty when wees are imminent.

Try a trainer seat over the big toilet seat when she's mastered the potty or if she's interested - but she might need a step to get up. Don't flush the toilet immediately she's finished (it can stoke her fears that she may get sucked in and disappear). 

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Of course, the toilet is not as convenient as a potty, so you may need to visit it rather frequently and certainly leave longer to get there

Introduce your toddler to the potty in a casual way, letting him or her play with it and role play with teddies or dolls. Don't let the first introduction be her bare bottom on to chilly plastic with your grim face peering nightmarishly from above.

This is in my box

Blah de blah

It might be worth starting with a potty in the bathroom, and encouraging her to sit on it before a bath. This is a low-pressure introduction, not a full-blown preview. If she's not interested, you and the potty should back off.

Read some books on potty training with your toddler and discuss what's involved in potty training in simple terms.


Starting potty training

Explain what you're doing

Fully brief your child (pun intended). Make sure they know the plan. Tell them they're a big boy/girl and from now on they will do their wees and poos in the potty or toilet, and not in their nappy.

Buy them som

Last updated: about 3 years ago