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Toilet Training & the Reluctant Mother…

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Toilet Training & the Reluctant Mother…

I’m bracing myself… I’ve been waiting for summer to come and now it’s here so there’s really no putting it off any longer. No it’s not a diet that I’m procrastinating about, (I don’t believe in those), it’s toilet training my almost 3 year-old boy.

Xavier is my third and final baby. I’ve been though it twice before so I know what’s in store for me. Well, kind of… toilet training my girl was a breeze. It was pretty much a case of “Ruby, do you want a nappy or knickers?” and she replied “knickers”. *Ok it wasn’t quite that seamless, but that was pretty much the gist.

toilet training

It was almost as if I was asking her ‘the pink skirt or the purple one? She would just decide on whether she preferred a nappy on that occasion or whether she was feeling ‘grown up’ and keen on knickers. The low-pressure approach worked wonders, so I thought I would just do the same with my boy when he turned 3.

Toilet training my middle child, an animated and stubborn (three year old at the time) was a whole different story. It suddenly made sense to me why my sister had previously stated that toilet training was her least favourite aspect of parenting. It was both baffling and frustrating that he could physically do wees and poos in the toilet, he just seemed to defiantly not want to. He just wasn’t fussed if he was walking around the house with poo in his undies. Those in a 5 metre radius however, were fussed indeed! And don’t get me started on him refusing to wash his hands!

I think a lot of it depends on personality rather than just gender.

And now flash forward two years and here I am again! But this time I’m going to be prepared and I’m going to have a plan!

To prepare myself and to curb my reluctance, I checked out the Huggies School of Toilet Training. Here are some of their tips (and some of my tips I’ve learned along the way).

toilet training

Top Tips for Toilet Training:

1) Start When Ready: Follow your child’s lead and try not to start toilet training when you’ve got other things going on ie. Starting Kindergarten, changing job etc. Check out the Huggies When to Start article

2) Consistency & Rewards: Have some incentives or rewards. *Different currency for different kids. Ie stamp on the hand (for younger kids) or sticker chart that works towards a bigger reward.

3) Be Positive: Focus on the positive and make it fun. Rather than saying ‘Do you need to go to the toilet?’ Ask them ‘are your undies clean and dry?’ *Then give them a sticker/stamp.

4) Demonstrate: Role model or demonstrate with a Doll or Barbie, including washing hands, so that they understand. Take photos/draw pictures of the child (or doll) at different stages of going to the toilet. Make a game and get the child to put them in order.

5) Anticipate: In the lead up to toilet training, become aware of the times that they need to go toilet and try to anticipate it. Also, show them DVDs, books and other kids who are toilet training. Make it ‘a cool thing to do’.

6) Choose your method (slow & steady or fast & furious)

The Slow & Steady Approach

Give them some nappy-free or undies time each day so that they get used to the sensation of being dry. Then back in nappy/pull ups for childcare, naptime or going to the shops etc. The Huggies Pull Ups are ideal for this as you can then build up to wearing undies all of the time by sitting them on the potty or toilet at regular intervals. *Set your mobile phone for every 20 minutes. Show them books, DVDs and a doll to demonstrate, use reward chart.

Given my long drawn out experience last time, for my third (and FINAL) round of toilet training I’m going to go with the intensive approach which I’ve nicknamed ‘fast & furious’.

The Fast & Furious Approach

This is an intensive weekend of toilet training. Plan to stay at home for the weekend and put them on the potty/toilet every 20 minutes all day. This is intense but effective. Requires commitment. Show them books, DVDs and a doll to demonstrate, use reward chart.

For my toilet training podcast episode, click this link and listen to episode #69

Good luck! Don’t give up, it is challenging and stressful but can also be fun!

We would love to hear your tips for what worked for you and what didn’t. Please comment below.

Wish me luck!
Xo Nat

By Natalie Cutler-Welsh from parenting blog & podcast If Only They’d Told Me

4 Member comments Post a reply

Avatar Huggies Editor



I’m bracing myself… I’ve been waiting for summer to come and now it’s here so there’s really no putting it off any longer.

Read the full blog post: Toilet Training & the Reluctant Mother…

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