Top tips for toilet training

Freddie is now 4, but for the last 2 years we've, on and very off tried to get him out of pull ups. He's now out of them completely (except for bedtime.. that's the next battle!) and I remember trawling the internet for some really helpful tips, because to be honest we struggled a bit at times and I found a mere few, but primarily went with my own gut feelings most of the time.. So I wanted to share my top tips, so if you're in a similar situation you'll find a few pointers!
  • Use your instincts
This is a real big tip, you may have read it elsewhere but honestly - you know your kid. You know when they will be ready to make a shift into going to the loo out of nappies. Many advise potty's before transitioning, but we went straight to the toilet as Freddie never showed much interest in the potty. He used to sit on it; but used it like a toy most of the time so we decided to get a trainer seat and just pop it on the loo. (plus we skipped the transitioning from potty to toilet)
He loves it, it's a Thomas one and it sits beside the toilet ready to be used. It makes it super quick and easy to pop up to the toilet as and when he needs to, we've also invested in a step now that he can take himself.
  • Be patient
In all honesty I found this one the hardest; you've got to be patient all the way through teaching and their learning. You're in it for the long haul, so just go with the flow. Yes there will be loads of accidents and near misses, you'll have tonnes of laundry during this time but once it's over, its over. I guess the best advice is, don't be too hard on them, or yourself - they are only little and they will get it, finally..
  • Talk about it - lots!
Many people may think 'what, why would I need to talk about it a lot?' but honestly this works. It helps their understanding of going and why, it also gives them a chance to ask questions. Many children have fears about going to the loo and worry about not getting there in time so talking about it openly helps get them all out.
Tell them about you going to the toilet and just keep talking about it. Talk about every aspect of it and why. Like we wipe to make sure it stays dry and clean. We go to the toilet because it's easier and it's not nice to do it in our pants. We wash our hands because we don't want to pass on germs and make ourselves or others ill.
We must do the talk every time we go! Now he's 4 it's kind of nice to hear him relay the pointers back to me - shows he's understanding.
  • Don't be embarrassed
You want it to be normal for them to go and ask. You want them to be able to approach you with a worry or a question, so the worst thing is to try and not discuss more than you need to with them.. I actually believe if you're open about it that they're more likely to discuss more adult things in future.

You won't believe the amount of times we've been in public loo's and Freds has shouted out 'Are you doing a poo?!' okay for that second you're like SHHH! *flushed* But honestly, who cares? They're a child, they don't notice privacy (I wasn't doing a poo btw).
Plus it'll make for funny stories if nothing else.. like the time he bellowed out in the ladies that I was on my period.. Eeeek!
  • Rewards
Little one thrives on little rewards - if they're anything like mine they'll flap arms, jump up and down crazily and get a tad over excited at the thought of a treat. (I'm sure they aren't puppies!)
This did help us in getting Freddie interested, he just wasn't bothered about going at the start but as soon as a 'treat' was there one he went he was willing to have a go more.
This can go for anything, a sweet or square of chocolate or even stickers. We had a chart as well for a while which he loved. They honestly live for the little things!
  • Be prepared
Literally, being prepared is the best thing you can do. Take spares when you're out. Carry wipes and nappy bags at all times. You're constantly on guard for that 'I need a wee' dance and honestly, don't ask them if they need to go unless they are very truthful as they often respond with 'No!' when you ask, but in actual fact when you take them, they will go (be prepared for some mini tantrums).
  • It honestly does take a while
I found this the hardest fact to come by, many sites always made it seem such an easy ride and as if you do it a few times and that's that! But honestly, if you're sitting here, a year later after starting and utterly frustrated that they're STILL not going, don't be. They honestly do grasp it eventually and they will eventually ask to go - when they do, be very encouraging of it! "Oooh thank you for telling me you needed to go, that's a really good boy/girl! Means that we can just go and do a quick wee on the toilet doesn't it?" They love to know they're doing good.
  • See the bright side
I must admit that it is a chore in teaching them, but you know what? It's lovely. It's a massive part of their journey through life and you're teaching them the best way to do it. You're guiding them and praising with them. I get just as excited as Freddie when he does a poo (I honestly cried the first time he did it!) and every wee is a step closer to him being a big boy. It's easy to feel stressed and impatient, but Mum/Dad? You're doing fabulous.
However, do feel very in your right to feel frustrated and annoyed about the process at times.. airing them can help a lot!

You can read all about our Toilet Dramas' here:
REMEMBER! You are not alone :)
 Mums' Days


  1. What a great post, we are about to venture into toilet training soon. Thanks so much for linking up to #TheList x

    1. Oooh good luck! Hope it all goes well :) X