The foolproof guide to potty training

The foolproof guide to potty training

For some it’s a breeze, for others it takes a bit of time but Potty training is rarely plain sailing. Of course you’re going to expect a few accidents along the way but it really can be something that fills parents with dread. So, we asked Tina one of our Co-Founders to share her experience and top tips having run her own nurseries for over 30 years. (that’s a lot of Potty training!)

When’s the right time?

You’ve heard it before, but every child is different. It’s so true! Most children usually toilet train between the ages of two to three years old, but some can be earlier or later. So here’s what to look out for;-

  • They know when they are wet or dirty and they start to feel uncomfortable and pulling on their nappy.
  • They know when they are going to wee or poo as they may go quiet or find a place to hide.
  • The time between wet nappies is more than an hour.
  • They start to tell you they are going to wee.
  • Waking from a nap with a dry nappy.

When’s not the right time?

If your child  is going through or about to go through a period of change within the family, such as, a new baby, new house, starting nursery or recovering from illness then it’s probably better to just hang on as potty training could cause  upset and anxiety. There’s absolutely no rush with this.


Books are a great way to start the conversation with your toddler, there’s loads around but these are my top recommendations;-

  • ‘Even Fire-fighter go to the potty’ by Wendy Wax, this is a lovely lift the flap book showing all different kinds of people who use the potty.
  • ‘Potty Time’, by Usborne Baby’s World, A colourful and simple exploration of the purpose of a potty.
  • ‘Superhero potty time’, by Sue DiCicco, this is a great interactive board book, with flaps, tabs to pull and more. I like the fact that it talks about washing your hands after using the potty.

Children learn best with routine and familiar locations

I always recommend having a potty a little while in the family toilet/bathroom for the child to get used to being there.  It’s important that’s where potty training takes place as eventually your child will use the toilet anyway.  You can make it welcoming with books and  maybe a few toys.

I always suggest to parents not to put the potty in front of the TV in the lounge or in any room other than the toilet or bathroom. It’s important your child is given privacy and dignity at toileting and yes it will take a lot of your time, but it will be worth it in the end.

Practise makes perfect.

Take time, allow your little one to sit and look at a book, have a chat and if they do nothing,praise them for trying, making toilet time a positive experience, this will help enormously with your child’s confidence and independence.

Boys usually learn to use the potty by sitting down but if they watch the males in the family, they may want to try using the toilet standing up, encourage this by getting a little step for the toilet, stay relaxed and give them the choice. Make it fun.

Clothing is key

Simple easy clothing is key to successful potty training, no difficult fastenings or belts but simple elasticated trousers that your child could pull up and push down, we designed our Kidunk trousers with this in mind. The less accidents your child has whist learning to use the potty or toilet then the more their self confidence and independence will grow.  I always encourage parents not to make a fuss over an accident as a child may start to become anxious, rather say nothing and change them. (and it will happen)

Sticker Charts/Rewards

These are a great way of encouraging your little ones if they are going through a difficult time with their potty training, start with daily stickers moving on to weekly. It’s a brilliant way for them to chart their own progress.

All working together

When potty training, everyone in the family at home and extended and at, nursery needs to know how it’s all going.  Routine is key so being consistent with potty location and of course encouragement is super important and conversation is the key.

One last thing

If you are struggling with potty training your child and you feel your child may need more support, remember to ask for help, it isn’t always easy and it could be due to an underlying issue, there is a lot of help available via your nursery, health visitors and GPs.


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