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Toddler Potty Training
When to begin?

When do you start with Toddler Potty Training?

The answer, in short is "when they are ready".  That isn't so helpful though, is it? So...

  • How do you know when that is? 
  • What signs should you look out for?

There are a number of key signs you can look out for.

Before you start on this development journey with your toddler, lets look at the key items you will need to complete your toddler potty training.  I have found the following items useful...

  • Mattress Protector
  • Pull-ups vs Training Pants
  • Cleaning Products

I would suggest having most of these items in the house around their first birthday.

If your toddler starts to show signs of potty training before then, then you should get these supplies in sooner!

Mattress protector

If you are not sure what this is, it is a water proof protective sheet.  

You would need to place this between the mattress and your child's bedding. Some people advise this isn't an essential, but it saves having to potentially buy a replacement mattress! 

This is something that I would recommend.

The waterproof protectors are easy to clean if soiled, as you can just wipe them down.  I've found a set of antibacterial wipes does this job quite nicely.

At least this way, you will only have your sheets and duvet cover that will need changing.  The mattress should be dry.

Consider these two points when buying a mattress protector...

  • Are you about to change your toddler's bed?
  • Either buy for both sizes or do not start the training until you are ready to put them in their new bed.

Make sure it is a fitted protector, as the protectors can slip from the bed.

As with all things to do with potty training, make the changes a step at a time so you do not scare your toddler.

Add the protector to the bed, as soon as you can. It's up to you if you tell them about it. I never have, unless I've been asked.

Remember, your toddler may be dry through the day. It can taken some children longer to master being dry at night.

cleaning products


'Rag-head' Mop

Mop Bucket

Antibacterial wipes

Sanitizer of your choice

Upholstery cleaner

As I've mentioned, antibacterial wipes are a god-send these days.  Especially with a potty training toddler!

Remember accidents will happen. They are unavoidable with potty training.   So you will need to consider having something in the house that will sanitize your flooring and/or upholstery.

I have wooden floors in the downstairs of my house.  I find this surface ideal for potty training toddlers (and also puppy's, but that's another story!).  A decent mop bucket and mop that is easy to use is ideal in these times.  I prefer a traditional "rag-head" mop, as I find them more absorbent than the newer styled mops.  But you need to work with what you are comfortable with.

If your toddler has a lot of accidents, do re-visit if you think they are ready.  Forcing the issue, makes toilet training an unnecessary obstacle.

As for any accidents on upholstery, where possible, put the item through the washing machine.  If that cannot be done, then a decent upholstery cleaner is best.  Remember to check in a discreet spot, first, before attacking the cushions.

I would suggest having most of these items in the house around their first birthday. If your toddler starts to show signs of potty training before then, then you should get these supplies in.

pull-ups vs training pants

It is up to you which type of diaper you progress to. It could also help to open toddler potty training conversations, if they are allowed to choose the color or style of their new training pants/diapers.

My stages with potty training...

  1. When my toddler starts to get "uppity" about lying down to have their bottom changed, I start the move towards using Pull-Ups.  This may also be when they get too heavy (which was the case with my son!)
  2. I start looking at the new style diapers with the toddler.  We look at the colors and the pictures to see what the big boys and girls are doing.
  3. I buy just one bag to start with.  A trial bag pull-up is ideal, if you can get them.  I put the toddler in that.  They usually feel all grown up, and wish to tell any newcomer about their new pants!  Praise and encourage this, as it only helps in the long run!
  4. Don't tell a child off for soiling!  It's hard at times, but bite your tongue.  They are learning.  They need to understand the sensations and then how to react to them.
  5. Once we are comfortable with Pull-ups and we get dry days, I introduce underwear.  To start with, I put these on over the top of the Pull-ups.  So my toddler gets used to them, and how they feel.


Our potty is now resident in our house and is part of our fixtures and fittings!

It doesn't play music, it isn't particularly pretty, it is just a regular potty. This was purchased intentionally for it's functionality, rather than as a "toy".

It is up to you and your child though. If your toddler is particular, then take them with you to choose their potty. It's a good way to introduce the potty, and is a small step into moving towards their training.

Once purchased, I would suggest to keep the potty close at hand. Do not let your toddler play with it, but keep it in sight. I would recommend having it where you would like it to be when in use!

This will build awareness to your toddler of where it is and is a good step to successful toddler potty training.

You can even buy your potty from! Here are a few recommendations of the different varieties available...

With my second toddler, the potty was always in the bathroom. He would come with me to the toilet, and would practice sitting on the potty, while Mummy did her business.

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