Potty training tips from mums who know

The best advice from MFM mums on how to move from nappy to potty and toilet


MFM mums have been busy sharing tips and tales about their potty training experiences on different issues and questions


When to start potty training

“My top tip is to only start when your child is ready to do it! My 3 have all been done by the time they were 2, but they led the timing of it. Leave a potty out for your child to get used to seeing it and get a favourite bear or toy to have a ‘wee’ on it. Let your child play with the potty so it doesn’t scare them. Most importantly don’t get cross or angry when they have an accident – clothes (and children!) are washable.”
Pippa, mum of 3

“I don’t wait for them to tell me they don’t want nappies (you’ll be waiting till the cows come home for some children!) Around 2, I get the potty out, we lose the nappy and they wear nothing but a t shirt/jumper while they’re learning. This means they are more aware of what they’re doing and it’s also easier for them to get to the potty in time as they don’t have clothes to take up/down. I found it just makes them think about what they’re doing – ‘no nappy I need to go somewhere!’ Those that don’t seem to know when they need to go will soon work it out.”
The old woman who lives in a shoe, super-potty-trainer mum of 6!


“We rewarded him each time he used the potty with some sweets which really helped!”
Wizzard Cathy, mum of 1

“I use Smarties as a reward,and by the end of the second day they’re working out what gets the Smarties and finding their way there by themselves in time. It takes a good week or so to have more control and I find by the end of the fortnight they are pretty reliable. I chose a time with each of them that we wouldn’t be going anywhere,so school holidays for us. We had a few accidents, I always have plenty of Dettol spray in, and I found there were a few more once we put the trousers back on because sometimes they’d forget and think the nappy was there, or sometimes they just can’t them off in time. I’ve had them sit on the potty with trousers on and go!”
The old woman who lives in a shoe, mum of 6

“When they get it right it’s time for cheesy over the top praise! A wee in the potty is something to get excited about. As for a number two, well that’s worth a song and a dance a surely a medal!”

“I tried the Smarties with my 2 girls and it really does work!”
Young mummy

Potty Sitting

“For the first day or two I sit them on the potty for ten minutes, then let them play for ten minutes off the potty, then back to the potty for ten minutes and so on. You have a fair chance of catching a success purely by accident. They can have toys or books at the potty but they sit there that long.”
The old woman who lives in a shoe, mum of 6

“Have you tried the ‘clever teddy’ trick? Use his favourite toy and ‘sit’ him on the potty and when he ‘does a wee’ clap and cheer and make a complete idiot of yourself. Then pretend that the toy wants your little one to do it too because he is such a big boy now!”
Karen Willis


“I think patience and consistency are very important. Never get cross. They didn’t pee on the floor to be naughty they just made a mistake. Remind them next time we use the potty and you clean up. Don’t go back to nappies because you have a bad day, feel tired or Granny’s coming round and your toddler’s butt naked.”
The Old Woman who lives in a shoe, mum of 6

“When he went to the loo on the potty we all clapped our hands and gave lots of praise and Ryan had a sticker. If he wet himself we didn’t make a fuss, just changed into some clean pants and we were on our way again. We waited, didn’t get stressed about it and used lots of praise and rewards like stickers etc.”
Maddy T

Pants vs nappy pants vs nappies vs naked

“When you get them dressed put them in pants and clothes, put them on the potty every 15-20 minutes to start with then as they get used to it lengthen the times and eventually they will tell you when they want to wee or poo. Be prepared for plenty of wet clothes but don’t give up and put a nappy back on.”
Sarah, mum of 3

“Have you tried nappy pants? It makes them feel grown up plus if they want to try and use the potty round at a friend’s, it’s easy! I never used to be a fan as I was a nursery nurse and just found them a pain to change but am now converted!”
Young Mummy

“My top tip is to avoid nappy pants. My girls wore washable nappies and trained younger than some of their friends because they could feel when they were wet.”
Riley’s mum

“My top tip for potty training is to put your child into pants immediately. Just be prepared to have lots of wet or dirty pants for the first few days. If you do this then your child will be well prepared to go to the potty when out and about because they will be used to pulling their pants and trousers up and down. My sister started my niece’s potty training by just letting her run around with nothing on her bottom half. She was happily using the potty but then as soon as she went into pants she kept having accidents because she wasn’t used to having to pull them down.”
Smee1978, mum of 2

Potty Training products you can’t leave the house without!

“My daughter loves her Carry Potty. Jemma is so proud and sees it like her version of ‘mummy’s bag’ – luckily I have different contents in mine! It’s made her much more keen on using the potty.”
Carol, mum of 1

“I have a folding potty that goes everywhere with me and can be whipped out in a second to avoid the mad dash and wet trousers.  We’ve even had it out in church at the back after getting caught short with the eldest when she was training. I also got both girls a backpack to carry their own spare clothes in and they hate it when its too full of spare clothes for their favourite toy to come with us so make more of an effort to get to the so there is room for teddy to come.”

“I tried training pants for Riley but they confused him so I tried him in pants instead and he got the hang of eventually. A couple of times I would let him run around with no bottoms on and put the potty near by – it can be a bit messy though! I let Riley choose his pants and he was proud to wear them.”
Riley’s Mum

“There’s a really good kids book that you can get called ‘Pirate Pete’s Potty’ that really helped us.”
Gem Km


“My tip is to put a plastic bag under the child when they sat in their car seat, so the seat wasn’t soaked if the child had an accident. Now I’ve found out about car seat liners – I never knew they existed!”
Audrey 1234

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