So, as you have prolly already established, I am no expert on parenting. I dont claim to know everything and I am very much open to suggestions or new information.

In fact I disagree entirely with the premise of the phrase Toilet Training.

I think its wrong.

I think that if you need to train your toddlers to use the toilet then they just aren’t ready.

Here is my biggest non-expert but tried and true tip for you……

They need to want to do it.


Toddlers are all a bit like Men; you need to suggest to them what a fabulous idea it is, rave on about its virtues, discuss the negativity of the old ways and then just let them decide on their own that its a fabulous idea and that they want to try it. Doing it any other way is like pushing runny shit uphill with a fork – infinitely frustrating and totally pointless. In fact, if you have a male toddler, this point becomes golden. A toddler AND male – its a slamdunk of a tip.

I remember reading (and I had a LOT of books/manuals/wine catalogues) that there are three things toddlers can control in their very regimented/routined life.

And control them they will. With a golden sceptre.

1. Eating; have you noticed they dont? And if they do, they say what goes.

2. Sleeping; again, they dictate on when they will and wont. You cant make a toddler sleep.

3. Toileting; we certainly cant force a nugget out of them at will.

I have kept this in mind with both my boys when it came time to toilet train them.

Interesting term again; when it came time.


I think a lot of parents get this wrong and therein lies your accident angst.

For example, a few years back I was keen to toilet train G Man over the school holidays just before he turned three. It suited me. We were at home all Summer with no plans. I wasn’t working and could be at home 24/7. Mr Point Five had a few months long service leave. It was summer so if we were outside he could be nudie-tudie. He had just turned three and the pressure from the grandparents/friends….oh he is THREE and still in nappies??? I had decided. It was going to be right for me.

Did I ask him? Nope, just thought it was time that he toilet trained.

Trouble was, he showed zero interest in the toilet and was quite content in his nappy. I remembered the three golden rules and decided bugger what everyone else thinks, my child is simply not ready. So we waited. He continued to watch Mr Point Five do his thing and after about 9 months (yes, he was rising four) I realised he was waking up with a dry nappy each morning and was holding it until about 8am so I decided to experiment. I took away the nappies and told him there were no more. He was old enough to recognise the feeling of needing to go, had the muscle control to hold it and the knowledge that if there were no nappies then logically he had to use the toilet like the rest of us. We had not one accident.  Not one. We never looked back.

Master J was a little different.

He has just turned three and toilet trained just now, in about a month.

He has been watching Mr Point Five use the toilet for about six months or so now so he is familiar with how it works. He sees his big bro use the toilet. We bought him his own steps to experiment with and he would often say he wanted to go like G Man but when we put him there a few months back he would just giggle and faff about. He wasn’t ready.

 I think this is also where some parents fall down.

They mistake their toddlers enthusiasm for readiness. To toilet train, toddlers need to physically be able to do two things; to think about and recognise the need to go before it actually is on top of them, and execute the muscle control to actually hold it in before they can get to the toilet. All the enthusiasm and eagerness in the world means nothing if they cant clench to hold it in before they reach the toilet. If they aren’t ready both mentally or physically, there will be a LOT of accidents!!!

Think about this one.

So with Master J, after a few months of faffing about, about a month ago he started to jag a few wee’s when he sat on the loo. Rewards, BIG rewards. Lots of clapping and praise. We bought a few sacks of those chocolate money things and he got a little coin for a wee and a big one for a poo, as well as one for his big brother. Being able to give G Man a choccie meant a big deal to him, little sweetheart. Soon, G Man was asking Master J if he needed to do a wee on the toilet because he wanted chocolate!

He was still in nappies; we bough the training pants/pullups which he could pull down himself, but we were asking him several times a day if he wanted to use the toilet, just to get his little mind used to the concept of thinking about if he needed to go, and about half the time he would take us up on our offer. If he did it in the nappy that was fine too – I didnt mention it and just changed him as normal.

We went a few days with a dry pull-up all day so he asked for jocks. I reluctantly said yes and that day we had four wee “accidents” and two poo ones. I took away the jocks and we were back to nappies.

Constant asking for about two weeks if he needed to use the toilet soon followed with him telling us he needed to go.  So off we went, followed by lots of praise and chocolate monies as he calls it.

Just last week we navigated a full week of totally dry pullups so we have been in jocks for the past three days with not one accident.

He still wears one at night (I cannot BEAR the thought of changing a bed at 2am) but when he is consistently (as in six months straight 🙂 ) waking up with a dry nappy these will go too I guess. I’m not fussed by that stage at all. It will happen when it happens.

Master J, very pleased with himself.

So here are my tips.

1. Do it when THEY are ready, not when it suits you, your timetable or when grandparents/friends think they should be ready.

2. Recognise that their little bodies may not be ready, even if their mind says they are. You cannot rush muscle development, nor humiliate them with accidents if they just aren’t ready for it. If they are not waking up with a dry nappy then chances are they just aren’t ready for day training either.

3. Pullups are da bomb! Use these when you are training instead of going to jocks straight away. No accidents. No DRAMA. Reward a dry pullup (due toilet requests throughout the day) after a week with jocks/knickers. If they desperately want to wear them as Master J did, pop them over their pullups.

4. Reward, reward, reward.

Do whatever works – find their currency. Print a picture of a big toy they want and stick it on the back of the toilet door with a star reward chart for gaining  it.  Or actually go buy it and place it on the toilet windowsill even. If they see it, they want it, they do it – its helps if its tangible.

If you know that they would give up all the chocolate in the world for their reward but still aren’t mastering the training then take it as a sign they aren’t ready; remember the pushing runny shit uphill analogy.

How many kids have you seen start school in nappies? Yours wont be the first, trust me.

Know that it WILL happen, when THEY are ready.

Just go with the flow, use pullups, don’t expect too much and they might surprise you 🙂

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NB: as mentioned, I am not an expert by any means, but for those struggling this is what worked for us as a family.