Recently, friends have been asking me about potty training and although I don’t profess to be an expert on the subject, I went through it with my son just before he was two, and my daughter this summer.

I read various books and articles and took bits of advice from different areas. For my son, I decided to start early, because he seemed ready. He kept telling me that he needed “a wee wee” and a holiday in the sun seemed the perfect time to start.

People have different views on this, and I know lots of mothers prefer to clear out a week and tackle it at home.

My son can’t have had more than two accidents during that fortnight, and he was very excited about the whole experience. My daughter wasn’t ready before her 2nd birthday, she was just over two years old when she started noticing when she wanted to go to the loo. Once again we were on holiday and it seemed the perfect time to start.

My top tips for potty training: 

1) Buy a potty (I love Baby Bjorn, because it has a high back and looks comfortable and supportive). Do this a few months before you start, so they can used to the idea, and let them sit on it whenever they want. I found that both my children went to the loo on it a good few weeks before potty training started. Out of personal preference, I always keep their potties in the bathroom. I also purchased a My Carry Potty, it’s very snug, but a genius product for potty training, especially when you’re out and about.

Another great product I found, which fingers crossed is still dry to this day, is the waterproof car seat / cover.

2) Buy a couple of packets of pants. I did this with my children and let them choose to make it more fun. My son went for Monsters Inc and my daughter, a fairy princess.

3) The night before potty training commenced, I read a children’s book about potty training to them, and explained what was going to happen the next day, and what a big girl / boy they were.

Daily Routine

1) Up in the morning – nappy off, sit on potty. Read a book, sing, chat – whatever makes them happy.

If they do something in the potty, give them a sticker and say how clever they are. (I did this for a fortnight, and they covered their potties in stickers.)

2) Get dressed, and explain how grown up they are by wearing big boy / big girl pants.

3) Suggest going to the loo before and after every main activity during the day. Before breakfast, after breakfast, before going out, when you’re out, when you get home etc. This may seem like you’re training yourself, but I found that it really helped during those first couple of weeks. They soon begin telling you when they need to go.

4) As for naps and bedtime, I still use nappies and my son only stopped wearing nappies at night and couple of months ago, aged 3 and a half. I really don’t think their bladders are ready before then, but then, each to their own!

One thing to mention is that all children are different, after a few days of potty training, my daughter got quite upset in the morning, when I went to take off her nappy. This only lasted a few days, but I was understanding and within a few minutes, she was happy to take it off.

I was very lucky with my children as they were quite easy to potty train, between them they had a handful of accidents. Most importantly, don’t forget – this can be an emotional time for little ones, but thankfully it passes quickly. Elizabeth Pantley has written a a couple of wonderful articles for us on the No-Cry Potty Training Solution and you can find them here.