Potty training – the truth

If you're finding toilet training a challenge, you're not alone. Our massive MFM survey shows most toddlers don't succeed first time round

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More than 1200 of you took part in our Potty Training Survey 2013 to find the real facts and figures about toilet training our toddlers.

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Thanks for being honest and open. The results make fascinating reading – and are very reassuring if you’re finding it tough going. That’s why we’ve launched our Wee Can Do This training plan, to help share information, expert tips and mums’ experiences.

So what did you tell us?

Don’t expect instant success

Less than a third of parents (28%) successfully potty train their child first time round, so if you’re finding it tough going, don’t worry. The most important thing is stick at it and try not to let your child associate going to the toilet with stress – you will get there.

Lots of wee accidents

All children have accidents when potty training and it’s very much part of the process.

On that first day when you take off the nappies:

  • over a third of children (31%) have 3-4 accidents
  • 12% have 5-7 accidents
  • 5% have over 8

By the end of the first week:

  • 19% were no longer having any accidents
  • 39% were only having 1-2
  • 16% were having 3-4

When do you start?

By far the most popular time to start is between 18mths and 2.5 years

  • 6% under 12 months
  • 13% between 12-17 months
  • 26% between 18-23 months
  • 33% between 2-2.5 years
  • 17% between 2.5-3 years
  • 4% over 3 years

How long does it take?

Don’t expect your child to take to it straight away. Between 2-3 weeks is the most common period – which is encouraging! But remember, a lot of you have stopped and started at least once before this successful period…

  • 11% took under 1 week
  • 11% took 1 week
  • 21% took 2-3 weeks
  • 14% took a month
  • 6% 6-12 months

Before starting…

You had a number of different strategies to beginning training. Some of you popped a favourite teddy bear on a potty and made teddy bear weeing noises. Other, more common strategies, included:

  • 73% sat child on a potty
  • 49% went to toilet in front of their child
  • 42% talked to child about using a potty/toilet
  • 39% swapped nappies for training pants
  • 31% sat child on a toilet
  • 31% read a book about potty training to their child
  • 6% dived straight in

Nappies off, on or never again?

There are mixed approaches when it comes to taking those nappies off. The most popular way was to take nappies/training pants off for most (but not all) of the time…

  • 35% took them off most of the time, except for odd occasions like going out
  • 20% took them off, except for day time sleeps
  • 19% took them off some of the time
  • 14% took them off and never used them again in the day
  • 10% just swapped nappies for training pants

Going out or staying in?

Again, there were a variety of strategies. Perhaps surprisingly, the most popular was to go about normal day-to-day lives incorporating potty training into a normal routine

  • 50% blended potty training into normal daily routine
  • 20% stayed in most of the time, except for essential outings
  • 16% set aside a week and stayed in until potty training was pretty well mastered
  • 12% stayed in for the first couple of days

Weeing or pooing first?

It’s clear that most toddlers manage weeing before the more solid issues. Over a third (36%) said your child had worries or difficulties around pooing in a potty or toilet.

  • 56% mastered weeing first
  • 11% mastered pooing first
  • 31% mastered both around the same time

What equipment did you use?

  • 58% Toddler toilet seat
  • 52% Mattress protector
  • 50% Toilet step
  • 50% Nappy training pants
  • 49% Night nappies
  • 41% Portable potty
  • 37% More than 1 potty
  • 18% Nightlight for bedtime potty/toilet visits
  • 12% Seat liner
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Join our Wee Can Do This campaign

If you’re about to start potty training, come and join us in the Wee Can Do This training plan. We’ve got forums to share your ups, downs and puddles, plus expert advice, downloadables and checklists!

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