It's time to ditch the nappies, take a deep breath, and put those potty theories to the test

Lucy Rathbone, mum to Ben, Katie and Olivia

When our eldest boy, Ben (aged just over three at the time) was ready to start potty training, our daughter, Katie, who is fourteen months younger, also seemed ready. Apparently, this isn’t unusual. We’d heard that girls tend to be ready earlier than boys, so we chose a time when we knew we’d all be home all week and went for it. Fortunately, it wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be.

We started with a wee at bathtime and – with masses of encouragement – they had pretty much got the hang of it in three days. There were a few accidents, which we expected, but we checked every 15 minutes to see if they needed the loo. We also had several potties around the house. Our third child, Olivia (just over two at the time) was also quick at first but then regressed and, to my horror, started weeing and pooing on the floor. I know you shouldn’t get cross, but it’s difficult not to! However, lots of praise and rewards for potty successes worked. She’s now three-and-a-half, and still wears a nappy in bed. We have tried to get her dry at night with no success. She has definitely been the hardest of the three for no apparent reason, but I’m very relaxed about it as I know she’ll soon want to be a “big girl” like her sister.’

STAR MUM Katy Hill (TV presenter), mum to Kaya and Akira

My daughter Kaya toilet-trained herself, aged 22 months! We’ve always been pretty open about letting her see us use the bathroom, which I think is key. We’d already decided we weren’t going to do the potty thing, but instead get one of those seats that fits on top of the toilet. That way there’s no future transition from potty to toilet to deal with. I’d started to refer to her “wee” in her nappy, and even emptied the contents of her nappy down the loo in front of her, so she made the connection. Then one day she just asked to sit on her “seat” – and we were away. We went over the top with praising her, even taking pictures of her wearing a home-made crown to celebrate the moment. And there was no looking back. She never wet herself. Not even once! Akira, my son, is now 18 months, and I’ve heard boys are a whole different experience – this time round might not be such a breeze. Good luck, me!’

Esther Williamson, mum to Marguerite

I was struggling a littl with potty training, then I discovered a great book – Girls’ Potty Time (DK Publishing, £4.99). My daughter, who was 18 months at this point, loved this book because it has so many lovely photos of real little girls. When I asked her what was happening in the pictures, she answered very capably that the little girls were doing ‘wee-wees’ and ‘poo-poos’. I invested in lots of Peppa Pig pants and occasionally put them on over her nappy, but mostly we just let her be and didn’t worry too much. The turning point came when one day she pulled off her nappy and told me it was wet. I asked her if she’d like to wear some pants that day and she said yes and chose some to wear for the day.I explained to her that as she was wearing pants she needed to tell me when she wanted to do a wee-wee. I gave her the choice of her potty or the toilet seat, and from that moment onwards she has always asked for her pink and white potty. Marguerite was potty-trained by the age of two, but still wears a nappy at night. I know that when she’s ready we can make a seamless transition again.’

Written by Tahira Khan

If you are just about to start potty training your little one, or perhaps you are half way through and need some advice and tips, have a look at Gurgle's guide to potty training.


Thomas the Tank Engine comfi training seat




Girls toilet training pants



potty book

Potty training books by Ladybird



potty balls

On Target Training Balls for boys




Pampers sensitive wipes




Hoppop Donut Potty




More Stuff.

When and how to start potty training When and how to start potty training
When and how to start potty training There are probably as many theories...
Jenni Falconer potty training blog No 1 Jenni Falconer potty training blog No 1
Jenni Falconer potty training blog No 1 TV presenter and mum Jenni Falconer,...
Jenni Falconer potty training blog No 6 Jenni Falconer potty training blog No 6
Jenni Falconer potty training blog No 6 TV presenter and mum Jenni Falconer,...