Potty Learning tips from a Mom of 6

By Naomi Mitchell, mom of 6 (soon to be 7) beautiful children &, owner of TomFips

Potty training seems to scare so many mothers. When to start, how to do it, why won't my toddler do anything? Frustration, tears , miserable moms and even sadder kids.

This is not how it needs to be, just like walking, talking and sleeping through the night are milestones, so is learning to use the toilet.

Potty training is a harsh word, toddlers learn to use the toilet and do not need to be trained. All they need is a little direction and suggestion when they are ready to reach the milestone.

When will my toddler be ready?

They will show you! Each child is individual , some are ready at 18 months but most take far longer, often closer to 3 years.

When I was a new mom, I wanted to potty train my first daughter at 18 months, that seemed to be the age other moms around me started and well I didn't want her to be behind so I got a potty and panties, made a star chart etc etc. Things did not go well, she wouldn't sit on it, and when she did, we could sit for an hour and nothing happened. I was getting tired and frustrated and she was getting miserable .

After about 6 months we maybe had one wee, another 6 months of tears and frustration and still no luck, really, I thought I was doing something terribly wrong. I was told to smack her when she did it in her pants or give a punishment. I probably tried it once and realised that was no good either, she certainly was not doing it on purpose. In the end, this kid needed time, much more time than I thought. She was fully off nappies at 4,5 years only. When she eventually figured it out, it took a week and we were done.

What went wrong?

In hindsight I now know I was pushing her too early when she was just not ready. You cannot make a baby crawl or walk, they get there when they are ready in their own time. I was never going to go through that same stress ever again.

My 2nd kid I still tried to train him but was far more relaxed and calm, things went so much better. He was all done when he was 3.

My 3rd kid was a surprise, 2 years and 2 months old and one week of potty learning and we had no more nappies, day or night.

​4th kid I was very relaxed, we had just moved house and I was pregnant with no 5. I just left him to figure it out all by himself. I specifically remember that from quite young( 17 months) he has some bladder control and could wee on demand, however apart from suggesting he use the toilet at bath time, I never did anything further, he learnt it all alone with lots of examples from siblings. He was 3 when he was out of nappies!