6 ways to cheat your way through potty training

To say that we had a rough start to potty training would be an understatement. Instead of struggling through, I decided to give up on potty training a few weeks ago.
I don’t regret that decision at all. It gave us the fear to know that we needed to be prepared and the time to make sure we were.
You see, I don’t have the patience for potty training and I was foolishly living in a dream that she would magically do it herself. For those that haven’t yet experienced potty training, I can only say that it is by far the most stressful experience that I’ve had as a mother.

But I’ve found a few little tricks. Yes, it’s cheating, but it’s worked for us beautifully and has given me the confidence I need to get us all through it in one piece and with (largely) dry knickers.

See my list of tricks to cheat your way through potty training:

Potty training for cheaters

1. Know when it’s okay to give up

We tried potty training twice before having any success. The timing wasn’t right the first couple of times. We went for a few hours but after countless accidents (even after asking if she needed a wee seconds before), I decided that enough was enough.

The trick is knowing that you can give up and that’s fine. We’re not all perfect and that’s okay. Sure, you can continue too, but know your own limits. Sometimes it’s just not worthwhile if the consequence is just that you can try again in a few weeks.

It’s not failing if you know you’ll try again when you’re better prepared and when the time is right.

2. Know when the time is right

We knew that the time was finally right when she was ceremoniously doing wees on the potty in the morning and at night before bath time. We gave her stickers every time she did a wee (for a couple of weeks), until she was a pro at these times.

When asking if she wanted a wee through the day every now and again, she then went a day with only having one wee in her nappy. The time was right for us when I felt confident that we’d be successful this time.

3. Bribery is okay

Devise a system that you’re happy with to encourage going to the toilet. Whether that’s a shiny sticker, a small toy or (heaven forbid) a snack. Do what you must and don’t feel disheartened by it. If it helps you to reach the end goal then that is all that counts.

4. Accept help

After going a whole day with only one little wee in her nappy, we decided to enlist the help of our nursery with potty training. You know what? I don’t regret that decision at all. We started off the process the day before and then she had two full days at nursery where they practically trained her the rest of the way.

Accepting that nursery can help and using them makes sure that you’re not locked in a house for a week on your own (if you use a nursery).

There’s no need to do it all on your own if you don’t have to. There is no reward for potty training a child on your own other than your own self of accomplishment.

5. Understand that number 2 may take longer…

Okay, so I originally said that we’d only do potty training when Georgia could tell me that she needed a poo. Well. That didn’t happen for us. At the minute she keeps it in until she has a nappy on.

Just accept that it will happen, but don’t put pressure on her. She’ll get there in her own time.

6. Introduce the potty

We introduced the concept of a potty using the Princess Polly Potty book. It has an annoying tinny ‘horray’ button that she loves to press and guided her through what was going to happen on the potty.

For us it was a nice addition to slowly introduce the potty with repetition so that she knew and understood what she’d be doing.

6. Be prepared for every eventuality…

I’ve bought quite a few useful tools to help us with potty training. Mainly to help decrease the likelihood of accidents when we least want them.

For those trips out when you HAVE to go out. You needn’t worry about them as long as you’re prepared. Here are our must haves other than the usual Potty, Step & Knickers combo.

Bambino Mio training pants

Made with terry cloth, these are absorbent potty training knickers. They’re great as they aren’t nappies but they are enough to help not go through 100 pairs of leggings. They’ll know that they’ve been to the toilet as if they were wearing knickers, but won’t leak like a sieve like regular underwear.

If you’re popping out, these bad boys can help make sure that you only need to change their knickers without having to mop up a small puddle in the middle of Tesco.

The travel potty

There’s nothing more middle class than your daughter saying that she needs ‘her potette’.

Basically it’s a fold down potty that comes with liners (a bag with a cotton pad at the bottom) for when you’re caught short – or it can be used on toilet seats with the legs folded out so you don’t have to hover a toddler over the toilet when out and about.

It’s small enough to pop into the bag – especially when you’re no longer carrying around a stash of nappies.

Car seat protector – piddle pads

These are fab.

Waterproof, they are universal car seat protectors to be fitted onto the car seats, or pushchairs. You never know when an accident will happen so it’s great to be prepared… especially for long journeys!

It isn’t sealed down, so is just removed to be washed without a faff.

The Gloves are on

Oh trust me. For that poop in a pair of knickers? You’re going to wish you had a pair of rubber gloves. Make sure you have a pair handy as well as some bleach or stain remover (or knickers you don’t mind being thrown into the bin).

Comments 29

  1. These are great tips! We have the potentate but there’s a few other ideas I hadn’t checked out yet. I’m planning to start next week. I’ve been saying that for the last 9 weeks! #fortheloveofblog

  2. I have 99.9% cracked toilet training. The remaining 1% being one of my twins only sometimes poos in the toilet, and sometimes still in his pants. But we’re getting there. It does take a bit longer like you say. Mine are 3.5 years old.
    But DEFO just wait until the time is right! We too tried a couple of times previously, and failed. But that is because I thought they should be toilet trained, and they just weren’t ready. So we just left it, and now (other than a couple of poos for one twin) it’s all good! It was pretty plain sailing this time round to be honest. Phewf!

  3. We did bribery (chocolate buttons, gasp!) combined with the (I forgot the name of the method, sorry) method you take the child for a wee in every hour or so, and eventually they start to ask for it. Cracked it in 5 days at 3yo. So so proud 🙂 He was going for number twos to sit on the toilet for nearly 6 month beforehand because we used cloth nappies and so that disturbed him in the nappy. I can highly recommend cloth nappies when toilet training as the super absorbent disposable nappies are just way too comfy… #fortheloveofblog

  4. We are in the middle of potty training so I know your pain! Clara can go all day without an accident. Even if she is wearing nappies she will hold on until we get home. But for number twos? She would rather go hide behind the sofa and poo in her knickers. But we will get there eventually! #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. These are great tips – I’ll be keeping these in mind whenever we start potty training! It may not be for a while, as my daughter has made it very clear that she’s perfectly happy with her nappies, but I know when the day comes I need to be prepared! #fortheloveofBLOG

  6. I am still slogging through training with L, it seems to take forever. We mastered wee’s on our third or fourth attempt but are still struggling with the rest. It’s not been easy for us and I really agree with a lot of your points #fortheloveodBLOG

  7. Great advice. I had no idea that we’d still be trying to get it right 8 months after starting! Our three year old mostly does wees and poos in the potty or the loo but still has accidents and I can see it’s going to go on for some time. I am hoping his brother will start earlier as we won’t be trying to look after a newborn at the same time but I think patience is the key and not to get frustrated with them.

  8. Great tips! I am so glad my potty training days are behind me. It’s such hard work. Bribery worked so well. I went through so many chocolate buttons with my two. hehehe
    Good luck! #fortheloveofBLOG

  9. I waited til well over 2 and they did it in a day, except the last one who decided at 11 months she would (kept taking off her nappy, I kept putting it back on!) That took longer…but they all get there in the end! #FortheloveofBLOG

  10. Great post and I couldn’t agree more with number 1 – I gave up too! Then just 3 months later my little man told me he wanted to wear pants and the rest was history! The potette’s are a god send too! #bestandworst

  11. We’re on day 6 of our second attempt angering giving uk the first time after a day and a half. The thing I’m struggling with is she tells me when she needs it and goes on the potty when she has nothing on, but in pants it’s constant accidents. And at nursery this week she seemed so busy and distracted she didn’t say when she needed to go all afternoon. Definitely going get some of those pants, and the car seat thing. Thanks! Xx

  12. We really struggled for a while as my daughter has issues with no.2’s and needs medication daily to keep her regular. (she still has to take even now we’ve cracked it) The first time we tried she was so excited and really determined, then one bad experience and the fear set in. So after about a week we gave up and just waited until she was ready. Then almost out of the blue a month later she decided she wanted to use the potty/toilet, it didn’t matter to her, and she just cracked it. I think waiting is key. Making sure they know why they are going to a potty is most important. #fortheloveofBLOG

  13. I was so lucky with Amelia… She woke up one Saturday morning just after she turned 2 and declared she didn’t want a nappy anymore. We did things in a kind of gradual phase out over 2 weeks. First knickers at home only and asking her every 10 minutes if she needed a wee, then we asked less often, but still used pull-ups in the car etc, then we phased out travel pull-ups and made her go before we left anywhere. She’s totally dry now apart from in the night. She wees once at night (she tells me) in her pull-up. I could get up and take her for a wee to phase that out, but to be honest I value my sleep too much haha!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  14. MY friend is about to embark on this ‘adventure’ :-0 so thanks for sharing the tips! Girls must be harder to take for emergencies wees when you’re out so I can see why the travel potty is a must… Enjoyed being co-host this week on #fortheloveofblog!

  15. This comment is probably going to sound really smug but it’s not meant to be! I know we have had some good luck! But we have potty trained 3 girls and all 3 were really easy. My top tip – completely nothing on – no knickers nothing for 2 days. Potty close by and gradually move it in to the toilet. Honestly the nothing on thing has worked for us – there is nothing to “catch” a wee or a poo so they are really v aware… Hope it helps! K

  16. Great tips and I think you are right about knowing it is ok to stop for a while if you need to. I didn’t find potty training that stressful and that is only because I just decided to wait until he was totally ready for it and then I didn’t try and get him completely dry all at once. He has just turned 4 now and still wears a pull up to bed and I am just waiting for him to tell me he’s ready to stop. Haha, the glove tip is so true, there really is nothing quite as gross as dealing with a poo in their pants!xx #blogcrush

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