Stress free potty training – a tried and tested guide

Stress free potty training – a tried and tested guide

Potty training, it is something all us parents dread isn’t it? The excitement of not having to dish out the big bucks on nappies is overshadowed by the fear of having to clean wee stains off the sofa and scraping poo from the lovely white carpets. As soon as your little one starts showing those all important signs that they are ready to ditch the nappies, it is the time to psych yourself up and get into the potty training, super mum zone.

Teaching a little human not to poo and wet themselves is surprisingly difficult. You would think they would be happy to stop making a mess of themselves wouldn’t you? It turns out toddlers couldn’t give a poo if they are covered in, well, poo. Although I really wasn’t looking forward to potty training, now we are slap bang in the middle of it all I have discovered it doesn’t actually have to be a stressful experience.

Of course, every child is different, some take to potty training really quickly and what works for one child may not necessarily work for another. I do think that the whole transition from nappies to potty can be a very relaxed and easy one though. It has been nearly 2 weeks since we started potty training Leo and although I would no way describe him as completely dry yet, we are well on our way to reaching this goal. I have taken a very laid back approach to getting Leo to stick his little bum on the potty and so far I haven’t felt a single ounce of stress. Leo has been happy throughout the whole process and you will be pleased to hear I haven’t had to clean up any gross little accidents.

I am no parenting expert or potty training genius but I really think by following these few simple steps potty training can be successful and not one bit stressful (see what I did there?).

The stress free guide to potty training..

Wait until your child is ready

There is absolutely no point trying to potty train before your child is showing signs that they are ready. I tried to get Leo using the potty just after he turned 2 and he was having none of it. He didn’t understand what the potty was for and would scream every time I tried to sit him on it. It was stressful for him and for me so I gave up, battling over the potty was never going to end in positive results. Now he is 2 and 7 months, his vocabulary and understanding are so much better and he happily goes on the potty now that he understands it is not something to be scared of.

Come prepared

The fear and worry of little poo and wee accidents can be totally eliminated if you equip yourself with all the necessary cleaning products. Before we started potty training I made sure I had a good supply of carpet cleaner in the cupboard and lots of ant bacterial spray. So far I haven’t needed it but knowing I definitely have some has taken away my worry surrounding any accidents that may happen. Also, don’t get over confident and throw any nappies you still have away, it is good to make sure you still have a stash just in case things don’t work out straight away. By still having nappies on hand, you won’t have to worry about dashing to the shops to buy some more, with an uncooperative toddler wearing pants

Listen to your child

Leo doesn’t like the toilet, end of. I have sat him on it a couple of times and he has cried his little eyes out. A clip on toilet seat is not going to work out for us right now, Leo uses a potty and so far all has been fine. Maybe your child finds the toilet fun and interesting, so maybe going down the clip on toilet seat route would work better for you. To keep things stress free it is really important to communicate with your little one and find out how they are feeling. Leo loves flushing the toilet so this has worked as a really good incentive to go on his potty and not in his nappy; if he goes on his potty he gets to flush the toilet, if he goes in his nappy he can’t.

Don’t be afraid to take a step back

I know this may sound counter productive but if your toddler suddenly decides they don’t want to use the potty any more then it is best not to push it. After a few days of going on the potty every time he needed the toilet, Leo suddenly decided he needed a nappy on. I asked if he wanted to use his potty and he got upset and said no. I put a nappy on him for a little while as I didn’t want to push him to use the potty if he didn’t want to, making the potty the source of an argument and struggle just seemed like a really bad idea to me. At his next nappy change I didn’t put another nappy on him and he was back to happily going on the potty again. By not arguing about the nappy earlier on, we seemed to have avoided any issues arising over using the potty. Sometimes taking a step back or even not making any significant progress for a few days doesn’t need to be a negative thing, your little one will get there eventually.

There is no rush
This final point I feel is the most important to having a stress free approach to potty training. If you put unnecessary pressure on your child and yourself to get potty training done by a certain age/time, this can result in a very stressful time for the both of you if your deadline isn’t met. When I first tried to potty train Leo when he was 2 I found it really stressful because I felt every other child his age was getting the hang of it and he wasn’t. Now he is older it is so much easier and I don’t care if it takes another year for him to be completely dry. Things are working out really well now I am letting Leo take the lead and take on potty training at his own pace. He still wears a nappy on trips out but uses the potty all the time at home now. If he needs to go he will go and find his potty and tell us he’s done so we can flush it away together. He is so proud of himself and I am so proud of him too. If things just carry on like this for the next month or so I really don’t mind, the progress we have made in just 2 weeks is amazing and the fact we have kept the whole process really relaxed, I think, has been really beneficial.

You see, potty training doesn’t have to be hard work. If you just relax, let your little one learn in their own time and, of course, arm yourself with some Dettol then saying goodbye to nappies doesn’t have to be stressful at all.

Are you about to start potty training your toddler, how are you feeling about it? Maybe your little one is already toilet trained, what was your approach to the whole process? I would love to know your thoughts.

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  1. Neve
    June 15, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    A warm, respectful, yet realistic approach to potty training. Thanks for the insights.

  2. Marion
    January 2, 2019 / 10:02 am

    Oh what a lovely article!!
    I’m looking for ways to potty train my… 3rd ! So you see there is no one best way even within the same family!
    For 1rst boy we made a chart with stars, and after so many stars he’d have a mega treat (a day out in his favourite park), but it kinda back fired a bit because we didn’t differentiate stars for poos and pees so when he had all his stars we had to stick with our promise though he was dry (even at night) but not clean and in the end the staff at his Nursery bridged the gap (compassionately). He was nearly 4
    For 2nd boy we weren’t ready when he was ! He was 2.5 years old, it was Christmas, he wasn’t talking properly yet but made it clear it was time and that was that. He trained us rather than we trained him !!
    With 3rd boy who’s nearly 4, the tricks we used at firsts with the other 2 don’t work!!… lol

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