Potty Training This Summer

If you think your child might be ready, potty training in the summer is so much easier than winter - no tights or long trousers to wrestle with!

Emily says: "There's barely an inch of my local high road that I haven't graced with a potty and a desperate toddler. Strolling around with a potty permanently to hand did, eventually, work, but was a little infra-dig for both me and my little one."

The process of potty training can be an anxious and difficult time, but it doesn't have to be too stressful, provided you have realistic expectations at the outset, plenty of time and lots of patience. Remember "There's no long term benefit to having a potty prodigy!"

Remember the time that children are 'ready' varies enormously. Some children may be dry during the day at 2 years old (although this is quite early). By 3 years old, many children will be dry most days, although accidents will still happen and by 4 years old, the majority of children will be dry. Becoming dry overnight takes longer but will usually happen at some stage between 3 and 5 years.

Paul says: "We used to look out for my son's 'poo-face' - he'd stop what he was doing and a slight frowny look of concentration would come across his face, then it was all hands on deck, whip the potty out and trousers down. In time, he learnt to recognise it too."

Signs it's Time to Start Potty Training

It is usually best to start toilet training when the following begin to occur:

  • Children are beginning to be able to control their bowel and bladder movements
  • Show a desire to be clean and dry
  • Are able to communicate that they need to use the potty
  • They begin to tell you that they have done a wee or poo, OR that they are about to 'go'
  • They have longer periods of time where their nappy is dry
  • If your child develops a routine - a bowel movement at a regular time of day, such as just before bath time, have a potty around and take their nappy off, suggesting that they sit on it. If they don't want to, this is fine, just try another time.

Robin says: "We tried it in the winter. It was a nightmare, fighting with tights and coats and we kept missing the moment, so we gave up and tried again a few months later when it was warmer and just pants to deal with. It was so much easier and quicker and I think she was really ready this time."

Tips & Tricks to Encourage Them

  • Start with pull-up nappies
  • Buy a potty in their favourite colour - if possible let them choose it
  • Get pants with a design that appeals to them - again let them choose and be part of the process
  • Talk to them about the plan, what they need to do and why
  • Consider charts and stickers to encourage them
  • For boys, look at training urinals, unflushable floating targets (eg Tinkle Targets) and bullseye targets to stick onto your toilet (Potty Pot Shots), Training Night Lights and more
  • Put the potty in the bathroom, get them to sit on theirs while you sit on the toilet (if you're comfortable with this) and perhaps ask them to flush your toilet and wash hands together
  • Get them see their friends or siblings using a potty confidently
  • Let them role play with their toys around the potty - join in
  • If your child is at nursery, inform your child's Key Person so they can provide continuity
  • Some children don't understand or like potties, so you may want to get a child's toilet seat and step so they can get up easily - but do beware that you stay with your child so they don't slip or fall
  • Some children are fascinated with pee and poo and will want to look in the bowl and discuss this with you, try to be (or fake being) comfortable about this, as it's normal and will encourage them to be relaxed about the whole process of going to the toilet
  • Read books about potty training with them - consider whether you wish these to be gender specific
  • Look up some potty training songs on Youtube - there are tons!

Harry says: "My daughter was frightened by the big loo and worried she'd fall in and get flushed away. A smaller seat on top & lots of encouragement and watching us helped her to feel more secure however we did once find her trying to 'wee like a boy-standing up' - which took a biot of explaining!"


Keep it light and fun!

Encourage, praise and even reward successful stages: announcing they need their potty ahead of time, successfully using the potty, staying dry for a whole day, the night etc

Show how pleased and proud you are of them for these achievements

Accept the process generally takes weeks or months, not days and expect it will involve periods of regression


Get cross or show your frustration when they have accidents. It's normal!

Take too much notice of well-meaning relatives or friends who may offer conflicting advice and opinions

Expect them to be able to wipe their bottoms properly too - at least initially - just 'going' is enough

Start potty training at a stressful or disruptive time like the arrival of a sibling, moving house or when they are sick

Mo says: "We started with a potty first thing in the morning by her bed and each night in front of In The Night Garden. My daughter used to sit there for half an hour, relaxed and not concentrating too much, and by the end of the show there was a deposit!"