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Never be negative about the contents of your toddler’s nappy. You don’t want your toddler to see poos as a bad or even scary thing. If you make poos seem a really happy, positive event, potty training will be far easier!

  • Over 22 months old
  • Aware of what is happening in her nappy – stops what she is doing, touches nappy area, her facial expression changes or she even ‘hides’ when doing a wee or poo.
  • Comes and tells you she is wet or has done a poo. Understands basic instructions like ‘sit down’ or ‘bring that to Mommy’.
  • Can pull her pants up and down.
  • Is able to concentrate on one activity like a puzzle or book for 5-10 minutes
  • Try changing her nappy before her day sleep and again when you get her up. It is a good sign if the nappy is dry or at least very warm as it shows she was dry during her sleep and made a wee as soon as she woke.
  • Two identical potties (to prevent your toddler favouring one over another)
  • Ten pairs of underpants or panties
  • Toilet paper
  • Bucket for wet underpants
  • A star chart with lots of stickers
  • Rewards (must be something your toddler will perceive as a real treat)
  • A CALM and RELAXED attitude.
Note:   Beware of pull-up diapers – only use them occasionally. They look like real underwear so letting your toddler wear them during the day may actually send the message that it’s fine to have an accident in his pants.
Talk to your toddler a few days before you start the training and explain that you will be teaching him to use the potty. Act very excited and enthusiastic. Show him his new potty and explain that you want him to start doing all his wees and poos in it and that, when he does, he will get a special reward.
Take him shopping and allow him to choose his own underpants.
Day 1
  • Dedicate this day to focusing entirely on toilet training your toddler.
  • Take his nappy off just after breakfast and encourage him to drink lots of fluid to help him wee.
  • Dress him in only a shirt or vest and his underpants.
  • Bring out the potty and explain that he is a big boy and is going to learn to do his wees and poos in the potty. Tell him that when he needs to do a wee he has to ‘wet’ his new potty.
  • Explain that after he has done a wee in his potty he will get a sticker/stamp and a reward e.g. a chocolate button or jelly tot.
  • Act out wetting the potty:
  1. Show him how to push his pants down and make a big deal when he gets it right.
  2. Show him how to sit on the potty.
  3. Show him how to make sure his penis is pointing down into the potty.
  4. Practice doing a pretend wee with him.
  5. Show him how to pull his pants up once he is finished.
  • Now get him to sit on the potty and ask him to wet it. Have him sit there until he has done a wee, or for 5 minutes. You may want to read a book together while he is sitting on the potty.
  • If he has not done a wee after 5 minutes, ask him to get up and look in the potty. Ask him if it is wet or dry.
  • Wait 15 minutes and try again. It may take 40 minutes before you get a wee in the potty.
  • A toddler will usually have a few accidents on this first morning of learning. When this happens:
  1. Show him the wet patch on the floor and say ‘wet’.
  2. Ask him to feel his underpants and tell you if they are wet or dry. Act sad if he says they are wet.
  3. Leave the wet pants on him for a minute while you clean the floor and then take them off and ask him to put them in the bucket for washing.
  4. Show him the reward he would have received if he had wet the potty.
  5. Put a new dry pair of underpants on him.
  6. Start again.
  • You will get a wee in the potty. Make a big fuss the wee so your toddler understands how happy you are and why you are so happy.
  • Continue this sitting on the potty every 15 minutes.
  • At bedtime you need to explain to him that this is the only time he will wear a nappy and that he will wear one for his day and night sleeps.
  • Remember that it could take the whole day for your toddler to get the hang of the potty.
Day 2 and beyond
  • Follow the same steps as for Day 1.
  • If your toddler is having more success than accidents, you can start to take him to the potty a little less often.
  • On Day 2 and 3 you should start to see a pattern to when he wets the potty, which will make it easier for you to know when to take him or ask him if he needs to go.
  • If you have tried the potty training for 2 days with no success and you are both frustrated, stop the training for now and try again in a few weeks.
  • Remember that toilet training is a process and every child is different.
  • Try not to overreact or criticise when he has an accident. Explain that it is perfectly normal to have accidents every now and then – no big deal.
  • It is normal for a toddler to do all his wees in the potty but to prefer his nappy (or pants) for a poo.
  • If you know that your child has bowel movements at certain times of the day, watch for signs that he is preparing for a poo and take him to his potty.
  • If he only wants to poo in his nappy:
  1. Allow him to ask for and poo in his nappy.
  2. Once he is making poos in his nappy (after first telling you), cut the side bits of tape off his nappy and tell him they are ‘broken’. Make a fun game out of lining the potty with the nappy and suggesting he sit over the nappy and make a poo. The treat for doing this needs to be something he really wants.
  3. Once poos are happening on the nappy in the potty, you could ‘run out’ of nappies. Ask him to do the poo in the potty without the nappy and give him 2 rewards if he does this.
  • Regression is going from totally dry during the day to having 2 or more accidents every day. This doesn’t include a small wet patch or trickle from not concentrating.
  • A change in circumstances that causes stress and makes your child anxious can cause regression in potty training. For example, it can happen when a new sibling is born and the older sibling feels a little insecure.
  • Toddlers often test boundaries if there is a change in circumstances like moving house. It is their way of showing you that they do not feel safe and secure.
  • If you let the boundaries drop and allow your toddler to go back to wearing nappies, you will reinforce the idea that the change is scary and your toddler should not feel safe and secure.
But if you keep the boundaries firmly in place, your toddler will soon feel safe and secure again.
  • Some toddlers decide they do not like stopping an activity to use the potty and wet their pants instead. If this is the case:
  1. Make it worth his while to use the potty/toilet by praising and rewarding him.
  2. Tell him you are busy and he will need to wait to be changed if rewarding does not work. He will soon feel uncomfortable in wet underpants.