Tales of Potty Training

We’ve had many posts on our forums about potty training over the years here at Twinsclub, and some great advice and top tips have surfaced. We’ve put together a few of our members recollections to help you with this seemingly monumental task.

Take heart though, it’s often a lot worse than you think it’s going to be!



“We’ve just cracked potty training – but in the most bizarre way. Yesterday Arlo did a really huge poo in his potty. “Look mummy” he said,  “I did Gordon’s Hill”. Anyone who lives with Thomas The Tank Engine fans will know what he meant! Anyway, it became something to aim for. Henry then wanted to make a Gordon’s Hill of his own… and that’s all it took. ” Jane, mum to Arlo & Henry b. 5th September 2006

Potty training : Top tips and best advice…

“I have just done potty training with my two.  I was doing a huge great bury my head in the sand and hope they will wake up in pants one day but I can honestly say it was FAR FAR FAR easier than I ever anticipated.I bought 2 potties (different ones so they have their “own” one) and I also got a thing to go on top of the toilet seat

I got a book (well 2- a girl one and a boy one) – and if I am completely honest I think that was what “did it” – I must have read them both (at their request) EVERY SINGLE DAY for about a month before we did anything (yawwwwwwwwwn) – they loved it !

Then I had bought about 10 pairs of pants each – decided that might not be enough – so went to Mothercare with them and let them chose their pants and bought some travel potties!! We then talked about wearing the big boy/girl pants and weeing on the potty for a few days and then Lucy just said she wanted to wear them….

So bit the bullet and put her in pants (not Jamie – he was in a pull-up) and just asked her all day if she wanted the potty and she was fine – no accidents!!!

The next day she was at nursery (one accident all day)

The following day went to a forest park with a friend – and she was fine again – 1 accident but she was away playing and just didnt get back in time.

The following day Jamie decided he wanted to have a go… (for these first days while Lucy was doing it he wore pull ups and sat on the potty a few times and did the occasional wee)

He wasnt AS GOOD – but still had very few accidents – but for me the key was asking him constantly and when he said he didnt need a wee (every time) convincing him to try to have a go before/after meals and before/after car journeys (which I still do – 2 weeks on – as they DO still forget or leave it too late particularly if there is no potty in sight).

Don’t feel under pressure to do it until you are ready,

Hope this helps,


“Mine were nearly 3 and decided it was time before I was ready – how mad does that sound ? I had picked a week and was gearing up to it but they decided themselves to start a week before it. Eilidh has been a star! She has had ONE accident the whole time, methinks maybe she was ready!James is brilliant too but only if he is naked. As soon as I put pants or clothes on he wets.

I also bought two pottys, a pink and a blue, got a seat for the loo (which Eilidh REFUSED to use, then used for about a week and now doesnt bother with. James hasnt tried the big toilet yet). I have a potty for in the car too, cheap Asda one for 73p! I have a few spare clothes in the boot too,  just in case (saves me having to remember.)  We got Matalan pants, 10 pairs for £3. We have 20 pairs for each of them.

Until they were fully trained, generally when went out J wore a pull up and E wore pants. I was not brave enough to let J pee all over the outside world to begin with.

I was FAR too pressurised by other family members to start, they have all been going on at me since J&E were about 18 months. I KNEW that they would be better nearer three but they went on and on and on, looks like I was right too.

The whole process took about 3 months – a week of James in boxer shorts cured his wetting in the pants!!! Must have felt too much like a nappy having pants on, the boxers kind of let it all hang free I guess.


“I tried to potty train mine together – but my son wasn’t ready so i ended up doing my daughter first. They had a potty each, and also used the toilet, so i didn’t have to carry a potty about when we went out.To begin with I took her to the toilet if she looked like she needed it (holding herself, or jigging about) or if she hadn’t been for a long time. I did this every hour for the first couple of days. We got to the stage where she was dry all, but only if I reminded her, and then all of a sudden something clicked, and she was asking everytime. She was dry day and night within a fortnight. She had the occasional accident but not many for a couple of months after, strangely when she drank orange juice?

My son however is still not there, he will be 3 next month. He is happy to sit on the potty or toilet and 9 times out of 10 does a wee if I put him on there, but has never asked to go before he wee’s. He also goes far too often (every 15 minutes sometimes) for me to catch all his wee’s on the potty. I don’t know how to progress with him, so he gets praised for going on the potty and a sticker. Once the weather is nice I will put him in the garden with pants on and see how he goes.

The only problem I have with training them one at a time is that the one who is already in pants starts wanting loads of praise again once her twin is getting it for going. My friends little girl regressed quite a lot once her twin brother was potty trained.

Good luck everyone who is at this stage, just think in a years time we will have something else to worry about!

Laura mum to four wonderful (most of the time) children ”

“I began when my two had turned 2.We got a book about potty training (Gina Ford for me and one for them from Toys R Us about using a potty) and a potty for them to sit on to try out before bath time.

I found I needed 2 potties upstairs and 2 downstairs and 1 more for luck! I also needed one in the car, so I bought a travel potty (Tommee Tippee Potette) which is fab.  It folds flat and you put a liner in it with a pad in it that soaks up everything and then you just have to find a bin. No more wandering around trying to find somewhere to empty potties! I bought this after Bethan had a wee in the middle of John Lewis Clarks Department and we had to find the toliet to empty it. How embarassing!

I also got the toilet seat – again one upstairs and one down. Kandoo wipes were great and a novelty for them, dettol spray, kitchen roll, carpet cleaner to mop up spills! Loads of cheap knickers from George at Asda or Primark and then if they do a poo you can just bin them!

With Beth, I put her on the potty every 20 or so mins and by the 3rd day she was asking me when she needed to go and she has been dry ever since. Megan on the other hand will tell me when she has done a wee or poo but doesn’t seem to be getting the signals yet. Either that, or she’s lazy! I will put her in knickers around the house, but have to put her in a pull up when out. We’re getting there, but she’s nowhere near potty trained! She doesn’t ask to go and sometimes gets upset when i put her on the potty, so trying not to push it.

I use sticker charts and if they have an accident I just say never mind, next time tell Mummy.   I did start with both at the same time, but frankly it was a nightmare. Bethan did it no problems but Megan wasnt ready at the same time. I’m trying her again now a couple of months later as she has started to ask to wear knickers.

Jenny, ”
Mum to Megan and Bethan

“Unlke most experiences, our potty training tale is 6 months long during which time I felt totally inadequate. My girls did not crack it in a few weeks, it took months and months (from Easter to October) before they were reliable during the day.

If my carpet and sofa could talk, they would have tales to share, I can tell you.

Katie is all but dry at night now but Alison is nowhere near. I left them until they were three and started partly due to pressure from family. I thought it was the right time – my girls thought otherwise. So… here is what I learnt from the experience:

– Have a bucket of disinfectant on standby (Gina Ford tip)

– Vax spot scrubber mini carpet cleaner was a life saver but bought it too late!

– You have to be on the ball. I was too laid back I think and then got all upset because they did not get it. You need to lead from the front!

– Don’t be in any rush and pay no attention to no-it-all relatives! They are not the ones on their knees with the marigolds on

– Microfibre floor cloths are brill at soaking up, ahem, “spills”

Good luck! This site is fab to keep you motivated during those dark damp days. ”

Mum to Kate & Alison


” Where do I start?


We started when the kids turned 2. Gina Ford style, we had the bucket of disinfectant, we covered all the furniture, it felt like we were preparing for war. We lasted one day and gave up, totally stressed – the kids and us.


Six months later the kids started having nappy-off time, sitting on potty in front of the Cbeebees for a little while each day, while giving them diluted fresh orange in huge quantities, successes quickly followed, with massive cheers and a lttle piece of chocolate. I gradually increased the nappy-off time everyday (although on a bad day nappies were glued on, lol.) About a month later we took the day time nappies off completely, they knew what to do and I’d been broken in gently so I was finally pretty chilled about the whole thing.


We had 4 potties, 2 for the living room and 2 for the bathroom and a seat for the toilet too.


I think training them to use the toilet straight away (ie instead of a potty) is great, less mess etc, but if you are doing two together potties are easier to start with. Also we use the Tomme Tippe Potette – travel potty in the car (we often travel long distances and it’s been fantastic) and I’m not sure if they’d take to it if you only trained them on a toilet.


I went through a few trainer toilet seats before I found one that didn’t slide around the toilet, the Babybjorn trainer seat is brilliant, easily adjusted with a wheel at the back for different sized toilets and it grips the toilet for a really secure fit.


I used a combination of waiting for them to ask and just taking them, (mostly before we went out).


If they are engrossed in a game and you ask them if they need to go the chances are they are going to say no whether they need to go or not. Also I’ve seen friends ask so often it sounds like nagging and it usually turns into a huge battle. If I need my kids to do something, I won’t ask them, I’ll tell them (obviously I can only tell them to sit on the loo not do a wee wee) .


I did both together because I just didn’t want to go through potty training twice. I wanted to give both of them the opportunity to do it but if one was really struggling with it I’d have just carried one with one.


Hope this helps, ”





“This is my 4th and 5th time of potty training, William and Maddie are 33 months old.


They’ve been telling me for a little while when they are going for a wee or a poo so with all the wet weather I thought I may as well have a go while we are stuck in the house anyway.


Maddie is really ready and has only had a couple of accidents, she is wearing proper pants in the day and pull ups for bed and using the potty.


Today though she has started asking to go on the big loo and has had a few “perches” on there for practise, lol.


She can mostly hold on while she gets her pants or clothes off too,  so I’m very pleased with her.


William is not so keen, he has been poorly recently and is not impressed with the potty so I’ve put him in pull ups instead of nappies as the first step to bigger pants (nappies for babies, easier with a younger sibling  like Tom around.) When he is properly better I will see if he wants to learn weeing in the toilet standing up.


I have been really laid back about it, whats the point about getting upset? I bought loads of chuckable Teso value pants so any gross accidents I can chuck in the bin instead of dealing with and getting annoyed. I’ve found it helps for Maddie to know she needs to tell me when she can feel “a wee in her tummy” rather than that really urgent wee is coming out, so she recognises the feeling that she will need to go soon rather than she is going now. ”






“I’d wait til they are ready as I tried too early with Rebecca and ended up very stressed and gave up within 2 weeks. Tried again in a few months and she cracked it within a week.One tip I was told was that if they told you they needed a wee/poo as they were doing it then praise them for telling you but if they just did it without saying, make them take off their own pants (prob best with the wee ones) so that they feel it’s wet and horrid.

Worked a treat with us and my pals who tried it too. Good luck, I’ve got it all to come later this year!!”


“If potty training is not going well for you, my suggestion would be to relax and step it down a bit. Don’t turn it into a power struggle. As long as you continue to show your children  that this is VERY important to you, they will resist. A friend of mine was having this problem with a 4 yr old. She tried everything in the book..bribery, rewards, logical reasoning, etc.. Nothing worked. She ended up taking my advice and within weeks her child voluntarily used the toilet. Kids need to feel their own power. Try telling them that you realize that perhaps they just aren’t ready to use the potty, but that when they are they should let you know. And then, don’t mention it….at all.When accidents happen, clean up the poo just matter-of-factly. Clean up the mess with no judgement or complaint. Often when kids fail to elicit a dramatic response, it takes the wind out of their sails. No more use for that behavior. They love drama of any kind! This will be hard for you, but if you truly let go…they”ll most likely come around, unless, of course, they’re just not ready. I think that when they are ready, and if they feel like they are “driving their own car” they will just do it. Good Luck!”


“We potty trained our two boys (now 3yr and 3mth) about three weeks ago now.  I know all kids are different, but here’s our experience, hope it can help someone:I waited to start potty training until they were telling me that they were weeing and asked for a new nappy straight after (they were so not interested in the potty before this point).

My main point was I had told them we would be in big boys pants a week before we started and reminded them every day what would be happening.

I made a sticker chart for them both.

From day one we put them in pants and only used pull-ups at night.

I ladled out huge praise, singing and dancing for every wee on the potty/toilet.

C had only one accident the second day and has been dry since.

A had accidents for 4 days, then 2 really good days, then about 4 really bad days. I really felt like giving up at this point, ‘cos he seemed to be really not trying at all, like he couldn’t be bothered. Then we stopped mentioning the potty at all. When he wet his pants, we left him for about ten minutes in them (sounds horrid I know), by pretending we were busy with something else, then changed him with no mention of what had happened. Within two days he went straight to the potty by himself and has been dry since.

C sits on either the potty or toilet.

A stands at either (dh thinks this may have been his problem, in that we were sitting him down when he wanted to stand like his Dad?).

I found my two reacted better by me NOT keeping on asking/reminding them but to just let them tell me when they wanted to go….probably ‘cos we started later??

Poo’s on the other hand are still done either in their pants, or nappies at night so we’re yet to crack that one.  I was really really dreading potty training and although we haven’t got the poo’s in the right place, I feel that it hasn’t been all that bad.

Good luck anyone in the process or about to start.”

“Potty training my triplets – let me see, where do I start? I started when my boys were 2 1/2 because they had to be dry before they started nursery. I waited for the warmer weather so they could run around with nothing on their bottoms to start with.They all had a potty each, chosen in their own colour. The boys started off sitting on them, then stood at the toilet after being potty trained for about 6 months.

I had a potty each they all had their own colour  boys started off sitting and then stood after being potty trained for about 6 months. I used the potty first because if I was out I could take the potty with me and it was easier if no toilet was available.  I also had a travel potty with was fab.

Two of my boys would ask themselves but one wouldn’t so I had to take him to the toilet when he was showing signs he wanted to go . We tried sticker charts and potty chocolates in the early days and  I tried not to make a big deal about it when they had an accident.

Because I had three I did one at a time I found I could concentrate on one at a time easier than all three together.”


“I think the main requirement is sunshine (let them wee on the garden rather than your sofa – you will be less stressed) . Good weather is great for getting the pants off outside and have them realise what is happening when they week.I recommend great pants with favorite characters (mine didnt want to wee on Cinderella or Diago which was a big motivator).  I had potties everywhere, and pamper care mats to sit on the sofa, hidden under a sheet. There was always lots of praise when things went well, but I didn’t make a big fuss when they didn’t.

The biggest bit of advice I could give would be to do it when they are ready (or ideally slightly after). Smile, it might not be as bad as you think.  (Personally the thought was worse than the reality). Mine were 2yrs 7mths and it took only a day or 2 (although they were a bit unreliable for a few weeks).

Don’t do it before they are ready or you will end up as a parent who says the kids are potty trained but who spends a lot of time changing their clothes and wiping buggies down!!

Mine transfered to the loo really quickly but I keep a potty for those lovely “we both need a wee” moments – and a hint for the future, beware of small boys who want to stand up and wee like their big brother!

Have fun – whatever it takes it is so much easier once they are potty trained (although a portable potty can be a gift at times!)”


“Hi there.

A key thing for me was waiting until they were definitely ready and that they could talk enough to tell me and understand – nearly 3 for me. Then you can just say. right now wee-wee in the potty ok? Well, that’s the idea anyway!

I counted the number of pants to see how we were doing – we went from about 16 a day to 4 a day by end of the first week (for both, and most for just near misses). It was highly intensive at first – we lived in the kitchen or in the play-park, and potty was never more than 5 feet away. Second week moved potty to bathroom and introduced the loo seat. Wouldn’t have made it there in first week!

Sunny weather is good so accidents can happen outside on the grass!
Best of luck ”


“First, you need to know that anecdotal evidence seems to support the idea that boys are much later than girls at getting this together. Second, to start at 2 1/2 is definitely not late, it may even be too early, depending on the child. If you pushed a lot at the beginning before he was ready, this may be the delayed reaction.My son pooped in his pants at school and didn’t seem to care if others knew or not, although he didn’t announce it, for probably a year or more between 3 and 4 1/2. Not every day, but frequently, and it was usually because he was desperately holding it in because he didn’t want to go at school.

We discovered that one of his issues was that there was no door on the bathroom at school, which was right in the classroom–pretty typical–and he just needed more privacy, he was just too self-conscious to go publicly like that, and it actually felt more private to him to go in his pants, if that’s what it came down to.

Another thing was that in his fairly large classroom of 16 or so kids, he was very popular and usually at the centre of things. He just couldn’t let go of what he was doing to go to the bathroom–perhaps some fear that he would lose his role in what was going on or lose his train of thought or that the game he was playing would fall apart. For him a little poop in his pants was no big deal compared to the importance of his play. He is 5 1/2 now and while he never poops in his pants any more, he still runs to the bathroom at the absolute last minute, and often pees in his pants because, he says, he’s too busy and didn’t notice he had to go.

He’ll often stand right in front of me dancing all around, asking me for markers or something that he needs and I have to tell him to go to the bathroom. Often he denies he has to go and I have to say I won’t cooperate with what he wants till he goes. I’m just hoping some day he’ll get sick of it (in fact, today, for the first time he was almost in tears when he changed his pants for the third time, saying he was so tired of having to change his pants, so maybe we’re getting there).

My advice, with hindsight, is DO NOT PUSH THIS ISSUE WITH YOUR CHILD (I did, of course, and regret it immensely) AS IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE AND STAY THAT WAY FOR A LONG TIME, IF YOU DO. Just quietly change his clothes and move on. Bring lots of underwear and changes of clothes to school for the teachers, ziplock plastic bags to put the mess in, and maybe some pull-ups too, if they think it will be easier on them to use those. Perhaps offer to your son to go back to using pull-ups at school until he gets more comfortable, and check out the privacy issue!”


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