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Potty Training

Most children are fully toilet-trained by the time they are three or four years old, with day time success usually coming around six months before night-time control.

Some parents boast that their babies are potty trained from just a few months old but every child will be different so don't think that you're involved in some kind of competition.

Disposable nappies are so good these days at keeping babies and toddlers dry that many toddlers come late to potty training, unable to recognise when they're wet.

This supports the widely held theory that babies who wear re-usable 'real' nappies are potty trained earlier ... they feel immediately when they are wet and want their nappies changed.

In any case, toddlers only gain control over their bladders and bowels when they're between 18 months and two years old. Any success before this is generally coincidental but with pressure on for toddlers to be toilet trained before going to nursery or playgroup, it's no wonder that potty training becomes a major topic of conversation among mums.

Routine is vital in potty training so well before you plan to start, buy a potty and have it in full view of your toddler so he can get used to seeing it and then sitting on it. The more relaxed you make the introduction of the potty, the better.

Your little one needs to see it as a natural part of life, not a test. Once he's used to the potty being there, you can sit him on it after a meal. This is a good time to do it since most toddlers will have a poo after eating anyway, not through choice but as a reflex action.

When they use the potty successfully, give loads of praise as this will encourage them to repeat the exercise. Never tell them off if they fail. And don't get cross if they won't sit still or if they have a poo the moment you put their nappy back on.

Using the potty is a huge learning curve for little ones. Let them see you use the toilet so they can look forward to being like a grown up. Many children are afraid of falling down the hole in the middle of the toilet so invest in a toilet trainer seat once your child is ready to move from potty to toilet.

And because little boys will invariably want to stand to have a wee you will need a step stool. Taking a child to the toilet should never be seen as a chore: it's a cause for celebration.

Potty Training Tips

  • DO praise your child for trying and ignore mistakes.
  • DO make toilet training fun. Let your child read a favourite book while he's sitting on the potty. Clap and cheer every success. Use charts and stickers if your child needs extra encouragement.
  • DON'T embarrass your child by broadcasting his potty training exploits to your friends when he's in earshot. If he's going to shout about it, he'll do it himself- make a big deal out of buying 'big boys' underpants' or 'big girls' knicks'. Let them choose them so they'll really enjoy wearing them. And if they do have an 'accident' and wet or poo themselves, don't get cross. It's not such a big hassle to wash a little pair of pants, is it?
  • DON'T struggle with a big potty in a carrier bag when you're out and about.
  • DON'T put pressure on your child to go to the toilet before you leave the house. He doesn't yet have an on and off tap and can't go to the loo on demand!

With 5000 nappy changes between birth and potty training, you need to consider your options for nappy disposal.

Nappy Changing Bags/Sacks

Usually purchased in packs of 50 or 100. Each time you change a nappy you put the dirty nappy in a bag, tie a knot and then dispose of it, usually in an outside bin.


  • Easy to use without the need for instructions
  • Compact and portable for travelling


  • Not odour free
  • Involves numerous individual trips back and forth to an outside bin

Nappy Bucket / Bin / Pail

There are a wide variety of these products available, which differ in terms of size, colour, shape etc. They are used for either the storage and soaking of re-usable nappies or for storing disposable nappies in nappy sacks.


  • Hold approx. 2 days worth of nappies, so avoids going to the outside bin each time
  • Have a handle for easy carrying


  • Not odour free
  • Not hygienic unless used only to hold nappies already wrapped in nappy sacks.
  • Can be easily opened by toddlers

Nappy Disposal Systems

The tommee tippee® Sangenic® Nappy Disposal System individually wraps each nappy, locking in the germs and smells in a specially formulated anti-bacterial and fragranced film by means of a patented 'twist and seal' mechanism.