The stress free approach to potty training

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 approach to potty training..
1. 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.
2. 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.

3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
This post is linked to..

A Cornish Mum My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows My Random Musings



  1. yvonne
    March 19, 2016 / 8:51 am

    I have twins, one has been potty trained for ages and the other just doesn't seem to know when he needs to go. He has an accident then runs to the potty afterwards. Not sure if he is just not ready. He is 3.5 though so I am not really sure what to do next 🙁 #picknmix

  2. March 19, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    I'm hating potty training right now! Midge is 2 but wears age 5-6 clothes, she's big for her age & nappies really make her legs sore! So we are trying to get her out of them & some days she's fine & loves wearing pants & using the toilet, but most days she's having none of it, she will poo in her pants & not tell us. She knows what she's meant to be doing but will try avoiding it. It sucks, sassy took to it straight away which makes this time seem even worse 🙁

  3. March 20, 2016 / 10:16 am

    Great tips and you are so right about waiting for when your child is ready and that every child is different. Our two were very different when it came to potty training and it comes to following the lead of your child #KCACOLS

  4. March 21, 2016 / 4:53 am

    Potty training was not a fun time for us! My daughter refused to go even though she was capable of it. We eventually found her vice (suckers!) and it went a lot smoother after that. There is such a variance. My nephew is almost five and still having loads of accidents at school and in bed. It really begins wearing on you!

  5. March 21, 2016 / 8:21 am

    I totally think it's #1 all the way. DD refused to wear a nappy once she was 14 months old, that was it. And I've seen friends struggle and struggle with their 3 year olds. But none of them go to school in nappies (unless there's a medical reason) so I say chill out until they're ready and don't give yourself a stress you don't need. #anythinggoes

  6. March 21, 2016 / 8:21 am

    I totally think it's #1 all the way. DD refused to wear a nappy once she was 14 months old, that was it. And I've seen friends struggle and struggle with their 3 year olds. But none of them go to school in nappies (unless there's a medical reason) so I say chill out until they're ready and don't give yourself a stress you don't need. #anythinggoes

  7. Rachel Lifeathomewithmrsb
    March 21, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    Not rushing it is so important. I waited for around the warmer weather before i potty trained mine, just so they could run around nappyless without feeling cold. It feels like so long ago now they are 5 and 10 years old! Very useful tips though 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

  8. March 22, 2016 / 1:50 am

    Your tips are perfect. We toilet trained our little guy a few years ago and we felt it was very important to let him go at his own pace and get used to the whole thing. To get him used to the toilet we would put him on just to sit and read a short story before his bath every night. I think we started doing this at 2 so he was never scared or uncomfortable. We didn't expect anything we just wanted him to be ok with the process. #KCACOLS

  9. March 23, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    This post is very welcome as my little one has just turned two and I'm wondering when she'll be ready for potty training. I didn't think "potty training" and "stress-free" were phrases that could be used together so your post has given me hope! I definitely won't push Emma into it too soon and will follow your tips. Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS

  10. March 23, 2016 / 8:58 pm

    Great tips, I was much more relaxed with number two, waited till he was fully ready and didn't rush and it was relatively stress free. Well apart from the time he wee'd and thought it was a puddle to splash in. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

  11. March 24, 2016 / 4:06 pm

    I love this post, I have a similar but nowhere near as useful one in my drafts folder! We are in the run up to it I think. Lots of conversations about it and the signs are almost all there. I think there's a lot of pressure to be ready by a certain age (or when peers start to potty train) but I'm so glad we haven't pushed it and we won't be pushing it. Encouraging yes, but not pushing no. A stress free approach is definitely more my style! #KCACOLS Lucy at occupation: (m)other

  12. March 24, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    Aww, sorry things aren't going smoothly with your boy. Maybe is still isn't quite ready yet, give it a but if time then try again maybe xx

  13. March 25, 2016 / 1:19 am

    I can really relate… my first kid got party trained right when he was 2 years old, and my second baby just don't want to do it.. We are taking thing easy, we are not rushing her. But some family members compare my kid ith theirs and that gets me really annoyed. #Anythinggoes

  14. March 25, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    Our daughter is 18 months and we're beginning to think about potty training. She's our first so it's not something we have any experience with. I think these are great tips and we'll be taking a similar approach x


  15. March 26, 2016 / 12:35 am

    Good tips! Mine is currently resisting all attempts so we are backing off a bit until she's ready. I feel like she SHOULD be out of nappies, but to be honest I am not looking forward to the mess & unsure how stress free I will succeed in being! #KCACOLS

  16. March 26, 2016 / 11:07 pm

    I have to confess that my two boys were so easy to get out of nappies and they both by-passed the potty and went straight on the toilet – if only I could bottle this luck and give it to other parents but I have no idea why it was so easy for me and the boys! #TheList

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