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Parents Panel: What potty training tactics worked with your toddler?

‘Every few minutes we’d ask if he needed to go to the toilet, and no matter what he said, we’d bring him.’


AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. With that in mind, we’ve launched TheJournal.ie Parents Panel.

This week, we’re asking our panel about big kid toilets, potties and saying goodbye to nappies. What potty training tactics worked with your toddler?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

Two days, fifty pairs of pants and lots of water
With each child, as soon as they showed some interest, we went for it. We bought about fifty pairs of underpants, filled the kids up with water, and let them roam all day with no nappy in the house. Every few minutes we would ask if they needed to go to the toilet, and no matter what they said, we brought them. For the most part it only took a couple of days.

- Alan Dooley

I stayed home for two days with her
I basically stayed at home for two days solid to toilet train my daughter, just before she turned three. We hung out in the house with her nappy off, played the nappy song and a gave her a sticker on a reward chart every time she used the potty or toilet successfully. She grasped it within 24 hours. We were lucky! I think we chose the right time for her to give it a go.

- Denise

20170126_181122 The potty training rewards chart in action. Source: Denise

He loves when I sit beside him for ‘chats’
We let our son take the lead. He still wears a pull-up at night but there’s no rush in moving on from that. He’ll get there. Quite often he likes you to sit on the bath beside him to “have chats” while he goes, other times he’ll bring in a book and a toy, just to have a read while he’s doing his business!

- Olly Keegan

She’s only six months and I’m already dreading it
Clíodhna is just six months so potty training is a good bit away yet. Though I’m looking forward to not having so many nappies to change, toilet training is not something I am looking forward to. It seems like such a big step for them – and so much work for parents.

- Ríona Flood

She asked for her own potty
Between our twins and our youngest, we had three babies in nappies together for nearly a year, at times our house felt like a nappy changing factory! Our eldest decided for herself when she wanted to potty train, though. She asked us to buy her a potty before she turned two, and she trained herself as if by magic.

- Ross Boxshall

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unnamed Two of the Boxshall crew getting to grips with potty life. Source: Ross Boxshall

It’s a losing battle, we’re taking a break for now
I’m about to give up on toilet training my toddler and will re-try after Christmas. I thought I had all bases covered by letting her pick out her own potty, buying her Disney and Peppa Pig character pants, all of that. But she keeps taking the pants off and will only go to the potty or big toilet if she is completely naked, with tops as well as bottoms off. I’m fighting a losing battle so will give it a break for now.

- Denise Cumiskey

We empty his potty together
We started potty training my 18-month old a few weeks ago so it’s a very current topic for me. At the moment I sit him on the potty after each meal and we empty it together afterwards. He flushes the toilet and we wash his hands. He still doesn’t tell me when he wants to go but if I ask him, he’ll say yes or no – and when he says ‘yes,’ we’re always successful!

- Marta Lisiecka

She was dying to get out of nappies by 18 months
My second daughter actually trained herself when she was 18 months old. I think this was because she had such terrible nappy rashes, which were almost a constant once we started her on solids, until she was diagnosed as coeliac. Wearing a nappy was physically painful for her so she did away with as soon as she could. Toilet training has always been child-led in our house and I don’t make a big deal about the whole thing.

- Susannah O’Brien

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