going potty:
a guide to toilet training

Potty training: it's not the part of bringing up little ones any of us became parents for, but believe us when we say it's surprisingly rewarding! Here we talk you through how it's done.

Just make sure you've got plenty of wipes, pants and that parenting staple – patience – to hand.

toddler learning potty training using her cuddly toy

how do you know when to start potty training?

You know the big moment's arrived when one of a few things happen. Your toddler might let you know their nappy's wet or full, hide behind the sofa to go or (proudly) announce they're about to wee.

Routine is important for potty training, and anything that makes this process easier is well worth trying out! So try to start potty training when you’re not going on a holiday or your child’s about to start nursery.


get the right tools

A few simple essentials make life easier:

  • a couple of potties

  • disposable, lined or 'grown-up' pants

  • change bag

  • wipes and nappy sacks

  • foldable travel potty

  • mattress protectors

  • a step

  • toilet training seat
  • you can find all mothercare's toilet training range here

    how to get started

    It all begins with making the potty part of daily life. As well as keeping one in the bathroom, store one in another part of the house so you and your little one are prepared no matter where mother nature calls.

    If your toddler makes certain faces (you know the ones) before they go, gently coax them towards sitting on the potty when that happens. And if there’s a mishap, make sure they understand this isn’t a problem.

    keep the rewards coming

    When you have a successful potty session, celebrate![1] Toddlers love being told what a "clever big boy/girl" they are. Sticker charts can also work really well – plus it’s satisfying for you to see the progress on the wall.

    moving up to the toilet

    Now the finish line's finally in sight – as are those months of washing potties! Start by getting a trainer seat so that small bottoms feel safe on the toilet. Lots of toddlers like having a step as well, so they can reach the toilet all by themselves.

    From there, follow the same principles of routine, reminders, reward. It might take a little while, but by following your child’s lead and trying oh so hard to stay patient, you’ll get there together.


    [1]. Rewarding toddlers for good behaviour, MadeforMums, [Accessed May 2019]