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Nail potty training with our pick of the best potties, story books and training pants.
Is it time to start potty training your toddler? Ditching nappies comes with a number of benefits for your child, your pocket and the planet. But before we get started we should level with you: it is not usually a linear journey and every kid is different, so try to relax into it. Be patient, pop your favourite soft furnishings in storage and stock up on wine (for you, not the baby) as the next few weeks are going to be a wild ride.
There are a few different ways to approach potty training, but the ultimate goal remains the same: persuading your little one to pee and poo on the potty instead of in their nappy. Sounds simple enough? But if your two-year-old already has firm ideas about their toiletry habits, making the switch can be a ginormous leap of faith that takes patience, persistence and routine.
The good news is if you’re exhausted from running around trying to convince a stubborn toddler to stop peeing on the carpet, investing in the right kit can also streamline the journey. From the ideal potty to buy to story books to help you set the stage, keep scrolling for potty training tips plus the best products to help you get the job done.
While some toddlers will start to leave clues that it’s toilet-time (see below), don’t stress if your little one fails to display any visible signs that they might be ready to wave goodbye to nappies and start pooing into the correct receptacle. There is no ‘right’ time to potty train your kid, as every child is different.
‘There is no set age for potty training, but most parents do begin around the age of two years old,’ says Amanda Jenner, Potty Training and Toddler Expert at Potty Training Academy. The length of time it takes your tot to nail potty training can also depend on various factors. ‘Every child is different and it can take days, weeks, or months – there is no set time,’ adds Amanda.
If you’re keen to start potty training but your kid is showing no signs of readiness, it’s possible that they are leaving you clues and you’re just not picking up on them. For the most part, the following can indicate that your little one is ready to graduate to the potty.
There are a few different methods including rewards-led, child-oriented and 3-day potty training, but the end goal is always the same: persuading your toddler to pee and poo on the potty instead of in a nappy. Before you get started, read up on the subject and decide which method best suits your family set-up.
If you have time and patience, we recommend reading Potty Training Magic: The Fun Way to go Nappy-Free Fast by Amanda Jenner, that relies on a rewards system to gently encourage your little one to step up to the potty. Alternatively if you’re keen to get the job done fast, Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right by Jamie Glowacki is a fun and frank approach to speedy potty training.
If your kid has been wearing a nappy every single day for two years or more, suddenly going bare down there can feel like a major shift. So, don’t forget to keep them informed of your plans! ‘The best method of potty training is to educate your little one a week or two before you start potty training,’ recommends Jenner. ‘Let them choose their own potty and set up a good reward system that they can visually see to give them that encouragement they need.’
It’s also worth doing your homework, so you can focus on your child and minimise any mishaps. ‘Don’t start potty training if you have just moved, a new sibling has joined the family, you’ve recently started a new childcare setting, or during any illness,’ says Jenner. ‘When you do start, make sure your diary is not too full because on the first day it is good to be at home, so they understand what they have to do,’ she adds. ‘Then slowly venture out on day two for a short period. And don’t forget to take your potty everywhere you go!’
From where your little one poos, to what you say following the inevitable accidents, ‘the biggest key to success is consistency,’ says Jenner. So create a plan and stick to it. If this means taking the nappy off on day one and never wearing one again while you follow them around with a potty in your hand, stick to your guns. Kids love routine, so they will eventually settle into the new norm.
It’s also worth enlisting the help of those around you. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, so ask all the caregivers in your life to get onboard with your routine. ‘Speak to the nursery and explain your method and reward system you are using at home so they mirror it at nursery,’ says Jenner. ‘For example, if you’re using the star system, take some stars in to nursery and explain to their key worker if they wee or poo they will get a star. It is so important that you work together.’
From travel potties to trainer seats, this is the essential kit worth buying for your potty training journey.
First things first, buy a story book on the subject so you can read it to your child ahead of day one. Picture books aimed at small children are a great way to break it down into simple and understandable language that toddlers can easily process. This also means that when the big day arrives, ditching nappies won’t come as a huge surprise and will be less daunting for both of you.
The truth is there’s no perfect potty and most of them will do the job. So, if you just can’t decide then go shopping with your little one in tow and choose one together. This way your toddler feels included in the process. But if you’re in a rush, this clever potty from Pourty will definitely smooth the process. It works exactly like a normal potty, but it comes with a special lip so you can easily evacuate the contents! After multiple toilet visits you will be supremely grateful for this clever chute.
Every kid is different and some will respond well to rewards while younger kids might not get the concept. If your child is the former, this great magnetic reward chart will help them develop enthusiasm for nailing toilet training with aplomb. But for smaller kids, high fives and positive reinforcement works equally too.
So, you’ve nailed potty training, provided you’re at home and your kid is naked from the waist down and watching Hey Duggee on repeat. This might work for the first week or two, but eventually normal life will resume and you’re going to need to leave the house. The secret weapon to effective potty training on the move is this clever invention from My Carry Potty. It’s basically a potty with an airtight lid, so if there isn’t a toilet in the vicinity to empty it into, your little one can still go.
Once your mini-me has successfully learned how to use their potty and grasped the concept of informing you before nature calls, it’s time to step up to the porcelain gods and graduate to the real thing. The only catch? Toilet seats are not designed for tiny bums! This super-cute trainer seat fits on most standard toilets and comes with handles too. What’s more, it matches the penguin carry potty so it will be familiar and fun as well.
Another essential weapon in your potty training arsenal, this foot stool has multiple uses for toddlers and our mum testers swear by it. It’s ideal for little legs that need help reaching the toilet, the sink and the snack cupboard. And we have it on good authority that it helps adults achieve the optimum position for a smooth evacuation during toilet time too. You can thank us later.
This option does depend on the potty training method you choose. But if your childcare setting insists your little one wears pants or it’s too cold to go naked from the waist down, these fun and functional pants from Bambino Mio can smooth the process. They’re kinder to the planet than pull up nappies, plus they come with a water resistant layer to minimise leaks if your kid does have a mishap while they’re learning how to use the toilet.
Whichever potty training method you choose, you will be faced with the nighttime nappy conundrum at some point. The route you adopt depends entirely on your personal preference and what works best for your child, as some kids develop stronger bladders earlier than others. But if you do decide to go completely nappy-free, a mattress protector is a great compromise. This one comes with a polyurethane layer that’s 100% waterproof, and it’s machine washable too, so kinder to the planet.
If your kid needs to pee a lot, the Whizzer is another brilliant travel potty that will take the stress out of long car journeys. It’s designed to be leak-proof and portable, so you can pop it in your handbag and your kid can have an emergency wee wherever you happen to be.