Our Nappies to Toilet Story

Are you starting to think about toilet training for your toddler? Wondering what age to start ditching the nappies or looking for toilet or potty training dos and don’ts? While I certainly don’t have all the ‘expert’ answers, we recently went from nappies to toilet with my little girl in a matter of days! So, I thought I’d share our experience and the things we learned along the way.

When To Start Toilet Training

I’m a firm believer in making my life as easy as possible by following my little girl’s cues for when she is ready to take on something new. Just after she turned two I started to get a bit of pressure from well-meaning relatives telling me that if I didn’t start potty training with her immediately she would never get the hang of it. I started to read The Gentle Potty Training Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith but life got in the way and only two chapters in it lay redundant on my bedside table where it still is.

However, the two chapters I did read reinforced my view that like everything else – my little girl would let us know when she was good and ready. I’d also decided pretty early on that we’d skip straight to toilets rather than a potty just because it seemed like an extra stage to me. There were a few weeks where she started getting visibly annoyed by her nappy, complaining if it was uncomfortable and wonky. Then, one day – she came home from playgroup and told us she wouldn’t be wearing nappies anymore, just knickers. Bamn! That was enough of a cue for me.

My toilet training must haves

In my limited time as a parent so far, I’ve found that children are a lot more enthusiastic about things they’re directly involved in. My toddler is way more on board with putting her clothes on if she has some choice in what she wears and you can guarantee she will clear more of her plate if she’s involved in preparing her dinner too. So, after she informed me she was going to be like the big girls at playgroup and use the toilet all the time, we headed to the shops to pick out a couple of multi-packs of knickers together. This was something she was incredibly excited about and in the first few weeks she would ask to change pairs a few times per day when she hadn’t even had an accident!

Also on the purchase list was a toilet trainer seat and step and as a major Peppa Pig fan, my little girl loved the matching seat and step we picked out for her.

Getting The Hang of No Nappies

I spoke to my little girl about using the toilet, asking her to let us know whenever she needed to go. For the first few days we prompted her around every half an hour, so she could actively consider whether she needed to visit the bathroom. We didn’t use a reward chart and didn’t make a big fuss over the couple of accidents she had. I would recommend keeping towels on hand and always carrying a spare set of clothes (potentially for you too if you get caught out while you’re carrying them).

On the whole, my toddler mastered daytime toilet ‘training’ at home in around three days. I’d spoken to her and said that when she was happy using the toilet at home we would ditch nappies outside the house too. I hadn’t expected this to go quite so quickly but her playgroup teachers were great with prompting her to go to the loo while she was with them and her grandparents too. As soon as she wakes up, she goes to the toilet and she’s gotten into the habit of trying to go to the loo before we go out or when we’re near a toilet when out too, though sometimes with less enthusiasm.

A couple of months in, we’ve only had a few accidents, which generally happen when my little one has been to sleep. With this in mind, it’s good to have a strategy what you will do when your child falls asleep in the high chair, pushchair or car seat without a nappy on. I carry a towel, wipes and change of clothes in my backpack in case of accidents, which can happen when they’re asleep or in that fuzzy stage when they’ve just woken up. Getting my little girl into the habit of going to the toilet when she wakes from a nap does seem to have helped massively.

Ditching night-time nappies

Staying dry at night is naturally a little harder to master and while we can have several weeks in a row where my little girl is dry, there have been other nights where she has had accidents. To help her differentiate we always take her to the toilet as part of her bedtime routine and for now she wears a pull-up to bed, albeit a new ‘big girl’ design. Right now, we’re waiting for another few weeks of dry nights before trying the whole process again. I’m confident she will get there and by not rushing or pushing, we all feel a bit more relaxed.

My 5 top tips for toilet training

  • Try not to stress about it too much – in my experience when my little girl was ready she had lots of energy and enthusiasm for learning
  • Plan ahead if you are out of the house or your little one is being looked after by someone else
  • Get toddlers involved by choosing their pants, potty or seat and night time pants
  • Beware of naptime accidents and children becoming so involved in activities they forget to go to the loo – prompt them to go before they get too sleepy or engrossed and keep towels, a nappy to pop underneath them and a change of clothes to hand
  • Don’t worry too much if night time nappies aren’t ditched as quickly

Have you started potty or toilet training? How are you finding it so far? If you’d like more information on toilet training, check out our guide to toilet training.