Me: Shall we take your nappy off? It’s full of wee.

Moo: OK then.

Me: And if you need a wee, you can go on the potty.

Moo: OK then.

Me: There. OK. Remember. If you need a wee, go on the potty.

Moo: No.

Me: Yes, Moo. If you need a wee, you go on the potty.

Moo: No. No wee. No potty.

Me: Well, sure, if you don’t need a wee, don’t go on the potty.

Moo: No wee.

Me: OK. Don’t wee then.

Moo: [clutching herself] No wee. NO WEE.

Me: Moo do you need a wee?


Me: Oh my god Moo do you need a wee? Just go on the potty!

Moo: [runs around clutching herself] NO WEE MUMMY NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE.

Me: Sit on the potty if you need a wee!

Moo: [legs crossed] NO WEE MUMMY.


Moo: [sits briefly on the potty] NO MUMMY NO WEE NO WEE.

Me: If you don’t need a wee, don’t have a wee! If you need a wee, go on the potty!

Moo: Need a new nappy, mummy.

Me: You’re having a bath in a minute, I’m not going to…


Me: I’m not putting a new nappy on you Moo, if you need a wee go on the…

Moo: [legs crossed, clutching herself] NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE.

Me: [desperately] If you do a wee on the potty I’ll give you a sweet.

Moo: Sweets? Yes please.

Me: You can have a sweet if you do a wee on the potty.

Moo: [sits briefly on the potty, stands up, crosses legs and holds herself] NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE…

Me: [despairs] You can’t have a sweet then.


Me: [hides under sofa]


So. Potty training. She’ll just wake up one morning and use the toilet by herself, yeah? Minimum involvement from me? Awesome.

OK fine whatever.

Tell me it can be easy. Tell me there’s, like, a simple way to do it. Cos Moo hates having her nappy changed, and hates wearing a nappy, but sure as hell doesn’t seem ready to use a potty/toilet, if the above exchange I had yesterday is anything to go by. What’s the answer? CAN I JUST PUT NEWSPAPER DOWN AND HOPE FOR THE BEST?

Help. HELP. I don’t want to do this. I am actually dreading it. Help me please.

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  1. M T McGuire

    I didn’t attempt to train McMini until he had finished teething. So… not until he was over three and only then because he was going to pre-school and I had to. He did 5 poos a day and I knew it would be grim. We had two weeks of unmitigated awfulness at the beginning of the summer holidays. Then I gave up. A couple of weeks later I tried again and he got it totally. So I would say that the trick is to leave it as long as you can. I also involved him in buying the potty – yes, he chose it. And yes, you are correct that does mean I have no dignity because yes, I actually did ask if they had a Spider Man one. Phnark. They didn’t, only a big yellow and white throne with ducks on. Not feeling as if they’re going to fall in/off is definitely an issue.

    I bribed him with chocolate and shouted a lot the first time. Our second go, he had clearly processed the first attempt and got it in a week. Within two weeks he was going through the night.

    Oh and this may be a boy thing but once the novelty wore off we did have a couple of can’t be arsed to leave the tv accidents.

    Good luck



    • motherventing

      Five poos a day?? Holy crap, what were you feeding him? I intend to leave Moo till she’s ready. Right now she’s still insisting she hasn’t shat even when my eyes are watering and the pot plants are dying from the stink. I’m guessing she’s in denial. It’s not time to rock the boat. Aargh.

      • M T McGuire

        Anything I could force him to eat! No not tables, chairs etc but he loves peas, fruit, veg, pasta and milk. Likes fruit.. all good sources of roughage, I suppose it was that. He still does two poos a day now, and he’s five! He was the last in my circle to be trained, I can tell you and like I said, only because I HAD to! Phnark. But they have to buy into it so if she’s not, probably no point. McMini had evil nappy rash so I could explain that if he wasn’t sitting on poo it would go away. That helped too.



  2. Emma Kernahan

    A bit late – just read this. we did potty training a month ago when my daughter was 2 yrs 3 months. Mainly because i was 7 months pregnant and DETERMINED to have at least 5 minutes of the Family Sweet Spot (where nobody shits themselves and everyone can walk to the car). I found what worked best was to have a child that refused to even consider the potty, only the toilet. Then to immediately develop a crippling vomit/diarrhea bug yourself. Then stay at home weeping for a week and have unseemly tussles with a 2 year old over who gets to use the toilet first and who’s going on the floor. For the record, i won. It was for the best – we don’t talk about it. It actually worked a treat though – the toilet is definitely seen as an Important Thing now and she has no problem shitting on the grass when i have managed to forget the travel potty. So proud of her. My main other tip is to bribe liberally with chocolate. however much chocolate you think you will need – double it. This is in no way a short term strategy. She will not need therapy later. These are my tips. Good luck!

  3. AlwaysARedhead

    Having gone through potty training with 3 children, not one was easy. Loads of accidents. The most memorable was when we would take our daughter, then around age 3 to the toilet before we went to bed. Hubby made the mistake of carrying her like she was sitting on the potty, so when he reached the landing, well, she just let it go. I, at the top of the stairs, could do nothing but laugh, and oh did I laugh as he stood there acting as a toilet.

  4. Mum2BabyInsomniac

    I got about an hour into trying to potty train Iyla a few weeks ago but after an hour had to quit as it wasn’t going to plan (three wees on the floor) – I’m not waiting until she tells me she needs to wee. Hopefully that happens soon though as she starts pre-school in Sept! x

    • motherventing

      I’ve got lots of friends who’ve said they’ve sent their kids to preschool in nappies. Gives me hope! It’s tricky to gauge when they might actually be ready, innit. Moo is so stubborn. Once she decides she doesn’t like something it’s hard to change her mind :/ good luck with Iyla! xx

  5. Canvas & Thread

    oh hello, didnt know u were blogging again :) we did potty training, twice. Eldest was a nightmare…very stubborn but i just kept telling myself “he wont be wearing nappies when hes ready to leave home…i hope”. Then with our youngest a made a simple chart…wee on one side poo on the other and he put a sticker in the relevant column and he was onit and doing it within a week…simples. my kids are like chalk and cheese but they both did it when they were ready..xx

  6. Mrs Smith

    We are living parallel lives. We are flirting with the idea as well. Some days i think my girl is ready, others not so. A friend of mine has taken the militant Super Nanny approach. He’s 2yrs 4m. Take night time nappy off and for 10 days slug it out staying v close to home. She’s had mixed results by day 8 but its becoming a normality for them. With us, i’m just flirting with it. When home i take her nappy off and encourage her to use it. I let her see her friend using it and then she wanted to use it. I pretend her ducky & teddy go (pour water in it when she’s not looking) and i let her flush it down the loo. I then sing, and give chocolate. Man, i dont know what im doing….we’ll get there, somehow. P.S. I find knickers seem to confuse her. Think she thinks they are like another form of nappy as she did a massive poo in them …whilst climbing the stairs. Lovely.

    • motherventing

      Sounds like you DO know what you’re doing… all good stuff, thanks. I think it’s more me not being ready (or not wanting to deal with the mess/stress) right now. Also don’t want to force Moo if she’s not ready. Difficult innit :/

  7. anna tims (@ageingmatron)

    Sounds as though she’s not ready, even if the books tell you she should be. You can’t force it. My son, desperate to earn my bribe, sat earnestly on his pot, got up, looked down, saw it was empty and declared ‘Potty’s not working!’ After that he had no truck with it for another six months.

    • motherventing

      I’m not going to force her to use the potty/toilet if she doesn’t want to, it’d be totally counter-productive and stressful for both of us. So much pressure tho, to get this stuff done.

  8. Jess

    At least she’s not just weeing straight on the floor! There’s an element of control over it so you should be fine – probably!

  9. Jules Smith

    Stock up on gin, kitchen roll, anti bacterial spray and pants. Take nappy off and don’t give it back. Weep quietly every night so Moo doesn’t hear. If they see any sign of weakness it’s all over. I’ve been doing it for a month with 2nd child. Mostly there now. Although yesterday he peed out of back door into garden and today he peed in the dog bowl. As neither of these were in his pants I’m taking those as good. Yes my standards are starting to be lowered. Anything not in pants is a winner

    • motherventing

      Ha! They can smell weakness, innit. I’m scared EVERY DAY that she’s going to realise she’s the boss of me. Also going to lower my standards. So my house smells of wee! So what? *weeps*

  10. Alexandra Peppard

    Shuddering with the memories that brings back. The rug in the lounge stil emits a dubious whiff every so often.

    Honest though, don’t push it. Go back to pull-ups until she starts pulling them down herself. The whole stressy situation between the two of you doesn’t help. Believe me, in one of my prouder parenting moments I remember yelling “how can the potty be scary, it has an octopus on it!” She then got scared of sea creatures too. Fantastic.

    Someone mentioned to me that everyone’s got these stories but no-one sends a 4yo to school in a nappy, so at some point it just happens.

    And the weirdest thing is it actually does just happen. Like, almost overnight they just nonchalantly skip to the bathroom, do a wee on the toilet, wash their hands and make you a cup of tea. Well, I’m still working on the last bit.

    • motherventing

      You beauty. That’s exactly what I need to hear: it just happens. Guess I’m putting pressure on myself again, that’s what parents do, yeah? Stressy is not good, you’re so right about that too. And they make you tea? Bonus. I’ll keep trying. And try to stay cool. Thanks missus.

  11. Fiona

    I’ve had nearly the exact same day!
    I took her nighttime nappy off this morning, determined that we’d give this potty training a real go as most of her friends are now sorted, finally after 7 HOURS of on and off potty, holding herself, no no no I don’t need a wee……she finally did a wee in the potty. Took me holding the iPad with Toy Story playing in front of her to distract her enough to relax and pee. Then later when I nipped to the loo to do one myself she wet herself. Oh well.

  12. Fi

    I was a wuss & left it til my kid was 3. Pre-school was mornings only & I fed him oranges for breakfast so he crapped before we went. He never needed changing while he was there. I then took off the nappy after his birthday & told him he’d get a chocolate every time he pooed in the potty. We did it in the summer & left him in the nude so he could feel the air around his nethers (I think the feeling of pants must be indistinguishable from a nappy for a nipper). He also had a toddler loo seat which he loved. Incidentally, it needs a new home if you want it…… Good luck Sweetie xx

  13. Michelle

    I had a right good stab at it with the two of them at the same time and admitted defeat after a few weeks. Tried again a few months later and Princess Z got it but Mr K didn’t. Tried again with him a few weeks later and done. My advice (and I’m no expert) is to not to be afraid to admit defeat and start again later. My low point was Z climbing on a radiator and weeing on it so the wee ran out the bottom.

  14. butwhymummywhy

    This is E and me right now too.
    She pooped on the carpet the other day too. 4 rounds of stain remover and the mark won’t go!


    (Oh and don’t look in my archives about when I potty trained Noo unless you want to cry and be totally put off!)

  15. speccy

    Girl2 drove us insane by refusing to use the potty. She did eventually decide to start using the toilet- but she was 3.5 by then. We had tried everything, but the stubborn won out until she was ready

  16. hpmcq

    i’m a bit of a meanie. once the nappy was off if he failed to go in the potty i made him clear it up with me. he soon started doing it in the potty.

  17. DustandLove

    I’m going to come back to this page in a day or so to read more advice. This is pretty much what happens in our house.

    And I laughed massively.

  18. gemma

    Oh my god is this what i have to look forward to? I was hoping that one day my 18 month old would just shed her nappy and start using the toilet, totally bypassing the potty and be able to wipe her own ass first time. Was i wrong?!

  19. carolinecameron

    I think the only way to do it is to take the nappy off and never put it on again. No matter how many accidents, never get upset, always praise, lots of kitchen roll and antibac spray, many, many clean pairs of knickers and make sure you have a stiff drink ready when you get to the end of the day. Good Luck!

  20. Cathy Dreyer

    It’s awful. I hated it and cocked it up all over the place, and everyone else’s place too. Don’t ask me. We went back to nappies a few times. I do remember that. However, none of them is still in nappies or went to school in nappies. Preschool yes. Big school, no. May the force be with you.

    • motherventing

      *deep breath* thanks Ms D. I’m not patient about these things. I just want it done, without the shit all over the floor. Maybe she can go live with her daddy for a few weeks. He can try.

  21. Random Woman

    Don’t ask me. Mine’s getting on for 3 and a half and I’ve been at this since he was 2. We have that same conversation every farking day!! (Weeps softly, drinks gin and lays down old newspapers so he can just shit on the damn floor I’m past caring)

  22. Pen

    Take her nappy off when she’s in the garden so she gets used to the feeling of needing to go. If she does use the potty in the garden, clap and tell her clever she is.

  23. Michelle Willis

    The trick is to take her nappy off & refuse to put it back on no matter how much she wets herself or nags. She’ll get there eventually & she is ready because she knows when she needs a wee if that exchange is anything to go by.

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