We introduced a potty at Christmas time. He’ll sit on it and do his thing (if he needs to go) and for a long while now he’s been informing me each time something happens in his nappy.

Our potty-usage has been a sparse, ‘when we remember’ type of thing. Since Christmas I had attempted several times to try a nappy-free day only to put him in a nappy half way through the day when we’ve needed to pop out, or I’d make a real effort one day to keep him out of nappies only to plonk him in one the next day because I couldn’t be bothered…. which probably isn’t the best practice in terms of sending Arlo mixed signals about when he should and shouldn’t be telling me he needs the potty.

So, over February half term when Arlo’s usual classes weren’t on and we had a clear week with no plans, I figured this was a good opportunity to have a quiet week at home and dedicate our time to some proper nappy-free days.

It was utterly boring feeling like I had to watch him like a hawk, forgetting to watch him like a hawk and getting weed on, and saying “Do you need the potty? Are you sure you don’t need the potty??” every half an hour.

We were doing pretty well as long as I remembered to plonk him on the potty every 45 minutes. But the idea is that he takes the initiative to tell me he needs to go, so I stopped automatically putting him on the potty and let him have a few accidents to see if this would trigger the lightbulb moment in his head. By the end of the week ( I think we did 6 days), it still hadn’t clicked, and if I left him to his own devices, he’d just wee wherever he was without any thought to what he was doing.

The sticker chart did not spark his interest. Sam would come home from work every day and count the stars with Arlo (he was under strict instructions to make a massive deal out of the sticker chart), but Arlo really couldn’t have cared less. He’s a chocolate man, not a stickers man. But we made the decision not to reward with chocolate as we have enough trouble already with Arlo’s demands for snacks and treats.

I bought pull-ups for nap times/sleeping and followed the advice to only refer to them as ‘pants’. Arlo sussed this one out straight away and said “Yes, these are my nappy-pants”.

He has his big-boy Thomas the Tank Engine pants, which were exciting at first, but after a while he started asking for a nappy instead.

I don’t see the point in pushing potty-training. I know that it will be a much simpler process once he’s ready, and I don’t think he’s quite ready yet. I also think that potty training doesn’t necessarily need to be a sudden move, but can work as a gradual process – it must be pretty odd to be suddenly told “Now you wee here and not here”, when for the past two years he’s not even had to think about it at all.

So the nappies are back on again, although we’re still ‘practising’ by having a nappy-free morning here and there when we have no plans to go out. At least it saves a few nappies here and there (the cost of size 5 and 6 nappies is hideous!).


  1. I tried P1 at 2 and half but she just didn’t get it and it was rather frustrating to keep clearing up wee. I then took two weeks off work in march just after her 3rd birthday purely to potty train and went cold turkey with nappies during the day. We had a lot of accidents the first few days but she soon got the hang of it (I must add that she hated the potty and preferred using the training seat on the toilet). I kept a pull-up on her at night for a good few months but she didn’t need it… I was just too scared. She’s never done a wee in the night since the week before we really started the training. We still have the odd accident but they are becoming less and less (about 2 a month if that) and she’s 4. She holds herself a lot and we have to remind her but if I forget too that’s when the accidents happen. No need to push potty training – you’re right. Some children grasp it straight away… Others just don’t. Xxx

    1. I’m thinking of getting one of those seats that go over the toilet to see if we have more luck with that, he doesn’t always like sitting on the potty

  2. Don’t push it, it will make it more difficult. Use the toilet instead and wait untill he is ready. The princess took a week with lots of accidents, the little man said one day when he had just turned 3, that he wanted his nappy off. He has not woren it since night or day and has had very few accidents. They have to be ready:) Good luck:)

  3. I think you’re right not to push it if you don’t think he’s quite ready. In my experience the longer you leave it, the easier it is. With my youngest, she just wouldn’t entertain it at all. Then just before her third birthday we tried it and she got it just like that. Literally trained in one day! This is one of those things where you have to follow their lead I think.

  4. yes i agree don’t push it
    me and my little boy are having fun toilet training with those wee targets from brollysheets
    makes it fun and takes the pressure off, he’s learning quickly

  5. fter a couple of failed attempts, I tried a new technique while Mom was away on a well-deserved weekend with her friends. We covered the couch and chairs with plastic and bought “manly-man” underwear — just like Dad’s. We spent the weekend in underwear and T-shirts, making a game every hour or so to see who could go to the restroom. There were very few accidents and just blocking out a weekend made for very little stress. It’s still one of my favorite memories

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