Potty Training that suits your child

Apr, 25, 2017
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Did the title of this blog spark your interest to read more?! You might have done lots of research and nothing so far has worked as you have not really found the ‘style’ that suits you and your child.
At ParentingSuccess we believe that each child is unique and therefore there is no ‘single’ way to do potty training. In this blog we have asked all our Parent Facilitators their approach to potty training and together we will offer you various ways that we have done potty training with our own children. This then allows you to gain real life insight from our Team, and perhaps you are ready to pick one of the ideas that you know will fit your child. You can also ‘pick and mix’ and take a bit from different methods and create your child’s own individual potty training program and by doing so, setting your child up for success.

Method 1, suggested by Louise, from ParentingSuccess – Weybridge and Walton
So – in the Brooks’ household we have adopted a ‘pressure free’ approach to this huge event in our children’s life. We have allowed ourselves to be guided by them.
Perhaps influenced, in part, by my background in Psychology and counselling – Freudian theory suggests that forcing this stage of the child’s development can have repercussions for later phases of the child’s life. This is about control – the only one who can control this process is the child – so we do best in supporting our child to feel in charge of this process!

I suppose my top tips could be summed up in these bullet points:

  • Resist the urge to start too soon.
  • Tune into your child’s motivation and interest in doing this.
  • Older siblings are great role models and will no doubt gladly demonstrate.
  • Big up the event – by involving them in choosing their own ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ pants.
  • Only wear underpants without a nappy – so that there is an incentive to wearing pants.
  • ‘Pirate Pete’s potty training’ or ‘Princess Polly’s potty training’ books worked with our children – reading these to them months before they even showed signs of being ready to leave the nappies behind.
  • Be tolerant and NEVER shame any accidents.
  • Be patient – each child is different. It is not a competition and there is no rush!

Method 2, from Rachel, who runs our ParentingSuccess office in Camberley and Reading
Our approach was to wait until our son showed signs of being aware of what was going on with his body.
Despite lots of pressure from my mother(!) we resisted the urge to start until he was ready, which wasn’t until he was very nearly three, so please pay no attention to what your friends children are doing – all children get there in their own time.
How we did it:
When we knew our son was ready, we took him shopping and bought some pants with trains on that he took interest in and then talked him through what would happen.
We bought 2 potties – one to be kept downstairs near in the downstairs WC and one upstairs in the family bathroom.
We also bought a travel potty which would be essential whilst out and about.
We put the potties in place for a few days whilst he was still in nappies and told him when he wears pants he will then use the potty instead of going in his nappy. He was quite excited about the idea.
We also bought a great book which included some stickers we could give him every time he used the potty. Our son liked stickers so this seemed a good idea.
We started and it went well initially. Wees were successful, however, poos were another story! For a long time we had to deal with poo in pants which was pretty horrible. We asked for Health Visitor advice and they said that boys sometime take longer getting the hang on things and just to keep persevering. Well it did work, it just took a bit of time and stress. With hindsight, I would recommend being very matter of fact about accidents. I remember that we kept asking him why he didn’t tell us he needed a poo, and we did show our disappointment when he had an accident – which definitely wasn’t a good idea. When we go through it with our daughter, who is very nearly ready, I will deal with accidents completely differently: matter of fact, ‘oh you’ve had an accident. That means we need to get you cleaned up and change your pants’. Fingers crossed it goes smoothly this time!

Method 3, suggested by Marianne from ParentingSuccess Guildford:
We were led by my daughter and looked out for signs that she was ready.  We also found out when other children were potty training at nursery so that our daughter felt she was learning with other children her age.  We had been reading “Princess Polly” for a little as she seems to be a bit of a visual book learner! We had always had an open door policy to going to the toilet so she would have seen myself and my husband go to the toilet since she was born.  We did eventually pick a weekend in the Summer where she could run around naked outside so it didn’t matter if she had an accident and placed the potty in the garden.  We made sure we had no plans that weekend so there was no pressure of being out and about and created an environment that would allow her get to the potty if she needed to rather than trying to quickly find a toilet. We also invited her older niece around after day 3 to show her how to use a potty which seemed to help.  She had a special sticker chart where she got a star every time to she went on the potty and washed her hands.  My daughter seemed to take to potty training fairly quickly and I think it was because she was ready and I also think it helps she has ridiculously strong bladder control!

Method 4 from Anisa, our ParentingSuccess Facilitator in Yorkshire:
As my colleagues have mentioned we picked a moment when our daughter ‘seemed’ ready, however, in reality it had to be timed due to me being a teacher and needing to do it during a holiday break! She got her special big girl pants, which she decided wearing on her head was much more fun!
I am a reader, so I think I read everything on the subject before I decided my way forward. We found story books at the library and purchased some of our own that introduced the idea of toilet training to our daughter, I seem to remember one about the Little Princess being a favourite.
We went down using a bit of ‘bribery’. I ordered Peppa Pig toys (small ones) and emptied them into a box. When our daughter used the potty or the toilet correctly she was able to pick a Peppa Pig toy from the box. When she had an ‘accident’ she did not, she was not reprimanded, it was more an ‘oh dear’ moment. It took roughly a week to ‘crack’ and then we moved onto only giving her positive reinforcement and praise rather than than the gift.
Our daughter took to toileting better than she took to the potty, so we very quickly upgraded and went straight to toilet use. We still had a potty ‘suitcase’ that lived in the car, that could be used in emergencies but she rarely needed it.

General tips:

  • Signs that they are ready for potty training:Usually around two they are physically and emotionally ready. Awareness of weeing and poohing, they might even tell you they have done a wee or pooh in their nappy. If the nappy is dry for longer period of time.
  • Don’t over praise; the child might feel that he/she has done something ‘bad’ if they don’t do it the future
  • Never show your child that you are unhappy with their level of potty training – this might effect their self-esteem later in life


We hope you have been able to take something from our tried and tested methods, do get back to us and let us know how potty training has been in your family.

All the best,

The ParentingSuccess Team

Parenting Success

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