Potty training tips from parents who've been there

Toddler on potty

Not looking forward to the prospect of toilet training? Follow these Mumsnetter tips – it might just be easier than you think

1. There's no rush

Wait for it

“Wait until they're ready. And that's not a magic number, it's when they're showing all the signs themselves.”

2. You'll know when it's time

Potty training

“Do it when they are ready, not you.”

“Our daughter turned round one morning and said she was ready to use the big toilet and didn't want to wear nappies anymore. Duly put her in knickers, and she was trained within a week. Of course it would have been easier if she hadn't chosen the week we were moving house…”

3. Although, actually, you might want to wait for one thing

Child on potty

“Wait until they can pull pants up and down themselves at the very least.”

4. When it IS time, make time

Empty diary

“Clearing your schedule for a few days and being home with them, bare-bottomed for the first couple of days, helps them crack it. Then introduce pants and trousers.”

5. Ease into it

Ease into it

“You don't have to do all or nothing. I'm a firm believer in giving children lots of opportunities to use the toilet or potty before they are out of nappies/pull-ups. I started offering my son a sit on the toilet at 18 months when I was there, and before a bath, plus nappy-off time in the evening with a potty around.”

6. Know this: accidents WILL happen

Accidents will happen

“We made sure he knew that accidents were all part of the process, so that he didn't get upset and discouraged.”

7. You literally can't have too many potties


“Buy lots of potties! I found it really useful to have one upstairs, downstairs and even in the garden.”

8. But make sure the ones you do have are right for the job

Potty correct for job

“Many plastic potties are very low and not designed for children with longer legs! A chair type potty is much more comfortable for some children and can help get them used to a toilet.”

9. Make good wardrobe choices


“They will, at some point, wee on their shoes. Make sure you either keep them in Crocs or trainers which are machine washable.”

“Get trousers that are easy to push down quickly – we bought lots of pairs of cheap leggings.”

10. You need military planning for when you're out and about

Nappy bags

“Always have spare clothes with you and a plastic bag for the wet ones!”

11. Find good role models

siblings on potty

“The key to our success was to involve older siblings or friends. Toddlers look up to the age group above them. If you can get a four or five-year-old to coach them, they'll learn much quicker.”

…even if that role model's a toy

Toys on toilet

“Our daughter loves her dolls – so doll got a potty and we 'trained' dolly together first, so she knew the routine of asking to go, pulling pants down, weeing, wiping, flushing, washing hands etc.”

12. And if bribery works – hell, go for it

Baby being bribed

“I bought some pants with their favourite cartoon characters. Just mentioned lightly, 'When you are fed up with nappies you can wear these.' It worked like magic!”

“My daughter wasn't impressed by stickers – she'd only go on the potty for cold, hard cash!”