If you feel your toddler is ready, and you’ve done your prep work, it’s time to take the plunge!


This week is all about establishing a workable routine with your little one. Some parents decide to pretty much live as hermits during this week. Others will be keen to venture out. What you do is up to you although if you can try to stay in as much as possible for the first half of the week your chances of putting in place a routine that you can stick to and that your little one feels comfortable with are greatly increased!


Look at the week ahead and choose a good day to start. It’s likely to be a day when you don’t have lots of (or even any) commitments, so you can focus on the task in hand.


The minute your child gets up take her to her potty to see if she can try to have a wee. Most children wake needing the toilet so the quicker you can get your child into the habit of getting out of bed and going straight to the toilet the better.


Make washing hands a non negotiable conclusion to every potty visit from day one. When your child is visiting the potty several times an hour this can seem incredibly tedious and there’s a huge temptation to skip the odd wash but hygiene is so important and if it’s made non negotiable it’ll just become second instinct for your little one.


Keep clothes to a bare minimum in the first three days. If your toddler is happy naked – let her be! The fewer clothes she has to fiddle with the less accidents she’ll have and having fewer accidents will build her confidence more quickly.

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One of the biggest debates amongst parents is whether to go all out and bin nappies altogether once you’re training or to keep them to hand. Our advice would be to try as far as possible to keep your child out of nappies during the day while you’re training to avoid confusing them (mastering night time dryness should be done separately).

If you’re going on a car journey or out and about for a prolonged period of time, it’s very important to take a handy travel potty with you. You can also buy seat liners for car seats and buggies, which you may also want to use for travelling on public transport. It’s also important to reassure your child and let them know you have this with you.

But be realistic. If your child is a particularly heavy sleeper, feel free to put them in a nappy for her day time nap but stress that it’s because she’s sleeping and not awake.


Make everything around potty trips so routine it becomes automatic for your child. Try to even use the same phrase each time you want your child to visit the potty: ‘Shall we see if you need a wee or poo?’ or ‘Is it time for the potty?’.


For the first 3 days:

Give your little one the opportunity to sit on the potty at least once an hour.

In addition:

  • Watch out for signs that she might need to go (a look of concentration, jigging on the spot, restlessness)
  • Sit her on the potty as a matter of course 20 minutes after any drink
  • Sit her on the potty before she goes down for any day time naps and the minute she wakes up from them
  • Give your little one constant reminders as she gets easily distracted whilst playing

For the second half of the week:

Give your little one the opportunity to sit on the potty at least once every two hours.

In addition:

  • Watch out for signs that she might need to go
  • Sit her on the potty as a matter of course 20 minutes after any drink
  • Sit her on the potty before she goes down for any day time naps and the minute she wakes up from them
  • Sit her on the potty at any times you’ve identified as peak performance times for her!


Try to time any drinks your child has for around 20 minutes before you’re planning her potty trip to maximise the chances of a successful trip!


Make visiting the potty rather than what happens on the potty the real success story. This takes the pressure off your child to perform.

Give your child lots of praise every time she sits on the potty – give her high fives or share cheers and claps together.

If she performs you can give her an additional reward such as a sticker. If she performs stick to your routine of visiting the potty every hour in the first week or every two hours in the second week.

If she doesn’t perform make light of it with a stock phrase: ‘Never mind! Next time.’ If she doesn’t manage to perform bring the next trip forward by 30 minutes and be extra alert during that time for any ‘Ready’ signals (eg. restlessness).

If your child insists on visiting the potty on numerous occasions without performing try not to lose your patience. This is just her familiarising herself with her new friend. The novelty will soon wear off, but it’s important that all potty visits whether successful or unsuccessful and no matter how frequent are encouraged rather than discouraged (no matter how tempting!).


Potty training (for all but the very lucky few) will take every ounce of patience you have. Hang on in there! The break through will come, but in the meantime try to set realistic expectations of your little one. Our ‘Wee Know’ research shows that on the first day of training:

  • A third of children have 3-4 accidents
  • One in eight children have between 5-7 accidents
  • One in 20 have more than 8 accidents!

By the end of the first week of training, things should have significantly improved and you should start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But be prepared for accidents to still happen. Our research shows that at the end of the first week:

  • Four in 10 children are still having 1-2 accidents a day
  • One in eight parents are still having to smile her way through five accidents a day!


At the end of each day of the first week it’s likely there’ll be two tired and frazzled people in the house – you and your tot!

The temptation is huge to allow her to have the odd early night (as an excuse to get her in nappies and out of your hair!). Try to resist the temptation though as sticking to established wider routines during potty training is more important than ever.


At the end of every day of your first week of potty training, talk for five minutes with your child about the successes of the day: ‘Wasn’t that brilliant when you told mummy you needed to go to the potty and you did!’ ‘I was so proud of you when you did a wee wee as soon as you got up today.’ Phone one of your cheerleaders to let your little one share her success stories.

Mark the end of each day with a ceremonial binning of a nappy to get her fired up for the new day ahead!


Read more about Amanda Jenner, our Potty Lady expert and inventor of My Carry Potty