Things I’ve Learnt About Potty Training After 3 Kids

For me potty training has to be one of the worst parts of parenting.  I really wasn’t looking forward to potty training my youngest daughter, and was literally hoping she would just decide she wanted to wear big girl pants and that would be it.  She likes to do everything her big sister does, and I really hoped this would include using the toilet.  There’s so much wishful thinking here it’s untrue, and I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise to you that it wasn’t quite as simple as I’d have hoped.

Ready For Potty Training?

Towards the end of last year, while getting ready for a bath and nappy free, Little Pudding runs into the bathroom and declares she wants to use the potty.  This is it I thought, she’s ready for potty training.  She’s aware she needs to go to the toilet so we best get started.

She started to use the potty at home more, but at nursery she just didn’t want to play ball.  She did not want to leave her toys to use the toilet as she knew they wouldn’t be there when she got back.  She would rather wee on the spot, than leave her toys.  It seemed she wasn’t quite mentally ready for potty training, and needed some support around understanding that the toys could be saved for her.  We quickly gave up potty training as quickly as we had started as she was just having too many accidents.

How To Approach Potty Training?

We continued using the potty at home to keep the encouragement going, but when we were out and about we used pull up pants.  I’m not the kind of mother that can commit to staying home for a week or more while we crack potty training.  We would all go a little stir crazy and the kids would wonder what had happened to their routine.

I decided to wait for more cues from my daughter that she was ready to use the toilet when we were out and about.  It was at play group that we had the biggest sign things were moving in the right direction.  It was here that she declared she wanted to wear big girl pants, and she knew they had a stash of spares in their bathroom.  For the rest of the day she wore her big girl pants and used the potty at home quite successfully.

The same thing happened the following week at play group and I decided that it might be worth another try at nursery.  We packed her bag full of changes of clothes and declared to the nursery staff that we would try again.  They have a 3 strike rule at nursery, and if they have 3 accidents they go back into their pull up pants or nappy.  During the first attempt, she could be back in her pull up pants within an hour of getting to nursery.  This time, she was managing to stay in big girls pants all day.

Dry At Night?

We had a few accidents, but not nearly as many as before.  Things were going in the right direction and she was soon keen to take herself to the toilet and stay clean and dry, even at nursery.  A few weeks later, I can definitely state that she has nailed toilet training in the day.  We’ve not tackled bedtime yet, as there isn’t any rush.  I think that part is a bit easier, and we’ll keep an eye on her pull up pants to see if they are staying dry and give it a whirl. At the moment it’s about encouraging going for a wee before bed and when she gets up in the morning.  Once the routine is established then we are confident she will be dry at night too.

Things I've Learnt About Potty Training After 3 Kids

Things I’ve Learnt About Potty Training After 3 Kids

  • Children generally potty train a bit later these days as nappies have become incredibly effective at keeping them dry.
  • Wait until your child is showing a few signs of being ready for potty training.
  • Start encouraging good toilet habits from around two years old.  Start sitting them on the toilet or potty  regularly so they get used to it.
  • Every child is different, so don’t compare other potty training journey’s to your own.  It’s not a competition.
  • If you decided to stop potty training, it is not a failure.  They just weren’t quite ready.
  • Using rewards are a good way to encourage potty training.
  • Don’t get stressed about it.  If they have an accident it’s nothing that some anti bacterial cleaner won’t sort out.  You won’t be mopping up wee for ever.
  • Talk to your child about being dry and wet to help them understand the benefits of using the toilet.
  • Every child is different, and may have different stumbling blocks.  Be prepared to use a different strategy depending on what your child is struggling with.
  • As long as you keep trying, your child will come out of nappies. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.

What advice would you give to a parent deciding when to potty train their child?

Zena's Suitcase
Zena's Suitcase

Zena Goldman is a UK based travel, family & lifestyle blogger who left her 9-5 job behind in the not-for-profit sector to follow her creative dreams and enjoy a more flexible family life. She began writing Zena’s Suitcase in 2011 and shares the holidays and adventures she goes on with (and without) her 2 young daughters. She wishes her son would join them more often but he’s carving out his own dreams now and enjoying university life.

Since beginning Zena’s Suitcase she has worked with a number of brands and also has a regular monthly feature in the ASDA Good Living Magazine feature, ‘Ask The Expert’ where she shares helpful parenting tips. In 2018 she was also a finalist in the prestigious BIBs Awards for Social Media.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. Margaret GALLAGHER
    March 12, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    Each child is unique and special
    LOVE support and lots of encouragement always wins the day

  2. March 12, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    Great tips – we’re not too far off needing to potty train (oh joy!), so I’ll be keeping all of these in mind 🙂

    Helen x
    Helen recently posted…PREGNANCY #2: 27 Week UpdateMy Profile

  3. Bev
    March 13, 2017 / 10:14 am

    Great article with some great, reassuring advice!

  4. Kerry norris
    March 13, 2017 / 10:40 am

    Great tips. I think not getting stressed about is is very important. X

  5. Samantha O'D
    March 13, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    Both my girls have been 3 or almost 3 by the time we cracked it

  6. A S,Edinburgh
    March 13, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    An excellent down-to-earth and reassuring article, thank you!

  7. March 15, 2017 / 1:11 pm

    Potty training was one of the most challenging parts of parenting for me too! Shudder!
    Veronica Lee recently posted…The Last Kite MakerMy Profile

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