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To potty train, or not ?

Before going into anything - parents, guardians, carers, basically adults; ask yourself these two questions.

Am I ready ? 

Are they ready ?  

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to toilet training is ‘readiness’, because although the glory of getting rid of nappies is at the end of the tunnel, there are numerous hurdles that come with potty training.

I've made a list of some of the fun ones below: 

  • accidents everywhere 
  • patience 
  • confidence 
  • confusion
  • doubt
  • independence 
  • potty VS toilet seat 
  • poo phobia 
  • night confusion 
  • cabin fever 

Yes, the fun ones. If you're child is attending a daycare, it's likely they'll have more peer pressure around toilet-ing than most, this isn't to say that kids who don't attend childcare don't have pressure. Every child is different when it comes to the toilet and i've noticed a lot of parents comparing their child with others, siblings, and even themselves. There are so many roads to choose from when it comes to the toilet, so I want to write about options and encourage you to compare less, and choose the best road for you and your family. 

Photo by markcarper/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by markcarper/iStock / Getty Images

The first road is letting your child tell you that they're ready - Now, they're not going to walk up to you and say "no more nappies", what they will do is show you some signs and signals. 

  • Do they let you know what they're doing ? "i'm doing a wee wee, I did poo"
  • Doesn't their nappy stay dry for at least 90mins ? 
  • Is their an increased interest when others use the toilet ? - You know those fun toilet chats; "mum, what are you doing, mum, whats that, mum what you doing". 
  • Are they actually wanting to wear underwear? 
  • Have they tried to take off their nappy to use the toilet ? 
  • Are they talking about it or friends doing it ? 

Whether they're 2,3, 4 or older, these are signs that maybe its time to take the leap and say ciao to nappies. Sometimes I like to encourage parents to invest in some L plater pull ups, just to get the momentum going with their independence. 


If you're not wanting or are already in L plater training, then moving to the unrestricted licence potty training is next. First things first - boost that independence and confidence of theirs. I'm talking about hitting your local kmart and target and stocking up on those cheap undies - not just a few - STOCK UP! You're going to be packing at least 5 pairs at school and believe me when I say receiving poo undies at the end of a daycare day is not something I would wish on anyone. Don't be shy, buy those undie packs like a plague is going to hit. 

NEXT, the talk. 

Just like a sportsman has his pre-game prep talk, I'd advise you do the same - boost that confidence, reinforce that accidents are OK, put some humour and serious proud parent comments in there. "You're a big kid now, I'm so proud of you". 

While i'm on this road (your child leading the way), don't throw gifts at them yet. Remember they're developing enough to want to try it, so they don't need materialism (yet). Gifts are fantastic when you have a particular goal for them, as lets be honest it's the NO.1 motivator. Let them lead the way on their progress, if their morale is down, take them for a big kid baby cino bonding time, rather than - here's a toy. I like to reinforce rewards with bonding experiences instead of detached gifts. 

Think about it - linking gifts with successful toilet time may be quite the expensive path......

The other road... 

Photo by BrianAJackson/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by BrianAJackson/iStock / Getty Images

 This road is the "i want my child out of nappies', either because a baby is on the way and one less seems optimal or you're ready to save 20c per nappy OR you're just sick changing dirty nappies. Whatever it may be, this road I find to be harder as you're initiating the independence, rather than watching for more signs - you find the standard cabin fever/no pants wearing/nude child/wee on the floor method will be the breaker.

On this note - it may ? Sometimes having that 2-3day period of getting use to the toilet works, and you have a knicker wearing little one with just night nappies to worry about. If this is the path you're going down, be prepared for the 'regression period' of muchos accidents and laziness. Most kids go through this because their bladders are still in the piddle phase. 

Did she say piddle phase ? 

I did- the piddle phase is simply where your child's bladder is nappy trained, its still just releasing with the comfort of thinking the undies will absorb it.It'll pass  - also if your child is at daycare, even though they have teachers asking them, they're so stimulated that often the toilet is the last thing on their minds.

Some tactics; 

  • if asking your child every 30mins isn't working - let them take the lead, change the communication. "remember if you need a wee, you have to go to the toilet". 
  • increase the intervals to an hour or so and include yourself "mummy is going to the toilet, lets go together"
  • Remind them that they're a big kid now, and we have to practice the toilet 
  • Make links with the underwear- "we don't want to wee on Dora (yes, we do), lets take her to the toilet. 
  • Get a toilet mascot (elmo/their favourite companion). 

Remember the toilet is about leading their independence, encouraging them to develop and strengthen their self-help skills. 



- please comment all questions! I'd love to hear from you and help.