How I toilet trained my 3-year-old boy


Toilet or potty training is a dreaded period in every parents life, no matter how experienced you are. All children are different and what works for one, it may not work for another. It can be very stressful as a parent and of course for the child too. There’s no guarantee that the choosen method will work. You might need to try and fail with a few. Or you may be lucky and pick the right one. Total bingo.

There’s a few already proven, well-known methods:

Introduce potty at early age, make it happen gradually, don’t be pushy. Potty is fun, potty is your friend. Let them try it first just sitting on it with trousers on, then just in a nappy, and finally nappy free. If they go, praise them. Eventually – though this takes a long time, I’d say MONTHS – they will learn. It is a stress free method for sure.

Go Nappy Free
You explain to your little one that on Wednesday the nappy comes off. You then watch them like a hawk in 24/7 and quickly put them on the potty when they need to go, in fact, initially in every 2 hours or so and 20 minutes after a big drink. In the meantime you also need to keep asking them, if they need to do a wee-wee. After 2 or 3 days, they gain some basic bladder control and begin to ask for sitting on the potty.

The Infant Method

I have no idea how is this possible, but apparently, some babies are able to learn how to let you know when they need to go, using different noises and sounds, just like when they are hungry. Now if you’re able to identify this signal, then you can start to take them to the toilet and voila, they’ll be (sort of) toilet trained still in their infancy. Wow. Never met anyone who has been mastered in this. Sounds very messy to me.

Now let’s jump to our story.

Las is a late talker, he has some learning difficulties and more often than not, avoids demands. He communicates his needs very well, but sitting on the toilet instead of wearing comfy nappies? I wasn’t sure.

We left it late (but not too late!), he passed three when we trained him.

At first, darling Grandma started off with the Child-Oriented method, when he spent one weekend with her. Without asking us (his parents, Grandma, please!). Don’t even get me started on this, but we then had to carry on. I think it was both good and bad in a way in the end: he was happy using the potty, read books, and started to do number twos regularly on the potty after about 6 months. But that was it. He never asked for it, he just dutifully sat on it a few times a day. He was around two and a half when we started.

Then, I bought a training toilet seat for him, and he really liked the idea of sitting on the toilet instead of the potty. Like mummy and daddy. From there on, we used a basic, cheap training seat. We still use this at home, but when we’re away, he’s happy with the regular toilet seat. He still needs help to climb on it, but he asks for help. Still, apart from number twos, no success.

I was getting nervous, as I thought he’s not getting the idea at all, happy in the nappy, left it too late, etc.

Then my window of opportunity opened. We were about to visit my parents in early summer. My parents live on the countryside in a big house. So, I thought, this is our time, two weeks away, warm weather, this little guy is going to be potty trained by the end of it. End so we did it! My proudest moment as a parent, honestly.

How did we do it?

Well, we combined the going nappy free method with a reward system. By that I rather mean plain bribery. Chocolate buttons. Yep. After every successful toilet trip, he received a chocolate button. He’s a hard nut when it comes rewarding, doesn’t really care about stickers and doesn’t understand too complicated future promises. Therefore, I used the single thing he loves but doesn’t get on a daily basis. And it worked.



Day 1-2
Nappy off, just as I kept telling him for a week beforehand: “when we will be at Nani’s and Papi’s house, we will say bye bye to the nappy.” I took him to sit on the toilet after every big drink and in every two hours. If he resisted, I said let’s just try and gave him a book or a small toy. Which worked. When he did a wee-wee, I praised him and gave him he’s promised chocolate button. If he didn’t, I said “we’ll try it again later. But no wee-wee, no chocolate.” Keep the eyes on the prize. Kept reminding him, like “See? We tried again, and you did a wee-wee!” It may sounds too mean to some, but I think you really need to keep them focused, without being pushy.
Day 3
I realised, that he’s only just gaining bladder control, he had none when we started. How? He was trying to do a wee-wee when he sat on the toilet, but told me that “it’s not coming!” And he was visibly trying. We had 2 accidents on day 3, he wasn’t even trying to get to the toilet.
Day 4-5
More accidents. I found them a little bit disheartening. When I took him to the toilet, he did a wee-wee, but he didn’t tell me anything beforehand the accidents.
Day 6
He finally asked to sit on the toilet! All by himself and being on time. He started to tell me every time he needed to go. If I asked him, he finally started to answer with yes or no.
Day 7-8
Accidents, but only because he wasn’t asking in time due to being too busy with playing. When he got to the toilet it was a little late, but with each and every time he learned to hold it better.

Day 9 onwards

Toilet training successfully completed! We even flew home nappyless on day 14, without any accident.

Three month later. We just got rid of the night time nappies, ever since he never wet them overnight. He still has some accidents like every small child, one in a fortnight kind of.

My tips:

Use cloth nappies. The conventional nappies are super absorbent, so the kiddo naturally feels very comfy in them. So comfy, that he might just prefer that to the hassle of the potty training.

With cloth nappies they can feel the wetness, make them feel uncomfortable, more willing to ask for a nappy change or to use the potty.

Find the right time. This is a hard one, because they all so different. Check the signs of readiness and don’t afraid to give it a go. You can try it a few months later again if the first attempt wasn’t successful. At the same time, don’t leave it too late. It can get harder when they passed readiness.

Do not compare. Girls not necessary pick it up quicker. Don’t think about how your mummy friends nailed it. It doesn’t matter.

Don’t let family members or other people to hurry you.Just because your mum claims that all children should be potty trained at 18 months, it might not work for you. And that’s ok.

Make a plan. Planning it in advance will help you both to be more prepared, even looking forward to it.

Talk about it. It’s good to hear other people’s stories, you might pick up some ideas and you won’t feel alone with the task.

Do try both potty and training toilet seat. For us, it would have made more sense to go straight on the training seat as that was he’s preference in the end. Some children like to have options and some control.

Let them copy you. From early age on, let them know what you’re doing when you go to the toilet. Even leave the door open. They learn by copying. There’s nothing gross about it.

Good luck!


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Mummy2twindividuals September 13, 2017 - 12:27 pm

Think we are about to have a second attempt with our twins. It’s nice to read other mum’s experiences. #humpdaylinky

Reply September 13, 2017 - 12:32 pm

I agree. I read a lot about it before deciding on the method. Good luck!

Ger September 15, 2017 - 1:08 pm

Where was this when I needed it ?!
My littlest seemed to potty train ,no issue but the two before him – omg !
It’s amazing how many technquies are out there to help ! A few years too late for me but just on time for many others ,no doubt !

Reply September 16, 2017 - 7:52 pm

They are so different! Whilst my boy was fairly easy – I still have a little girl to train soon, already dreading it. You just never know.

Roxana September 15, 2017 - 9:54 pm

Great article, I was a very lucky mama because both my kiddos picked it up really quick, I did have to throw some goodies whenever they went on the potty and that seemed to speed things a lot 🙂

Reply September 16, 2017 - 7:49 pm

Ha! True. Well done you ☺️

Beth @ September 17, 2017 - 2:49 pm

Well done! It’s such a great feeling when they get it isn’t it? My Macsen is a late talker and I held off until he chose to sit himself on the toilet and do it. 🙂 We didn’t look back after that.

Jaki September 18, 2017 - 5:16 pm

I dreaded potty training and I have to say when we had cracked it I was so relieved it was over! I beat myself up and googled the crap out of it when it was happening and I even gave up at one point. It was the best thing I could have done. My Little Man decided himself when he wanted to stop wearing nappies, and it was pretty much a walk in the park after that. I think we were lucky! Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales, hope to see you again tomorrow.

Reply September 19, 2017 - 8:17 pm

Yes I think it’s down to pure luck sometimes!

Crummy Mummy September 19, 2017 - 3:28 pm

We’re about to start all this again so this was a good read! #humpdaylinky

Reply September 19, 2017 - 8:11 pm

Oh good luck then!

Anne - Just Only Home September 21, 2017 - 3:54 pm

I’ve heard boys are tough! Great tips, I used some of these with my gals <3 #stayclassymama

Reply September 23, 2017 - 9:32 pm

I’ve heard that too! I have a 16 month old girl too, so soon I will know it for sure.

Karen | TwoTinyHands September 21, 2017 - 6:54 pm

Brilliant, I can’t get enough tips for potty training!! My son is 2.3 years old and all his friends who are 6 months older than him are trialling potty training so I hope he will pick up things from them as well… we have the potty in view to make friends with it and plan to get the toilet seat one soon. Baby 2 is due next month so I’m waiting till next spring to start worrying about potty training my son!! I’ll be using cloth nappies on the baby, I gave up when the boy got to 10 months or so, I wonder if him seeing his sibling in cloth will make him go back to aid with the training… hmm we shall see!! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

Reply September 23, 2017 - 9:30 pm

I think you have plenty of time, I waited too. The ladt thing you want with a new born is a toddler under potty training!

Kirsty Dee September 23, 2017 - 7:35 am

Ah, so helpful. My son has been doing so well, but then got ill and regressed a little. Luckily, I think we are all sorted now. It’s like you say they all do it at their own pace and you should never compare, I made that mistake as my daughter was trained a good 9 months prior and I started to worry which is just ridiculous when you think about it.

Reply September 23, 2017 - 9:24 pm

I think regression is understandable when they are newly trained and they get ill. Glad he’s all sorted now. X

Jenni September 26, 2017 - 10:21 am

We have started thinking about this. Our 2 and half year old isn’t interested in the potty when he needs it. He only tells us after he has done something. My Dad suggested the nappy free idea. Thanks for linking up to #StayClassyMama

Cardiff Mummy Says - Cathryn September 26, 2017 - 1:46 pm

The thing I have found with my three is that they are all so different and that they need to br ready. My daughter was just over two and trained in just over a week, she was dry at night before she even toilet trained. My middle child had shown no readiness but the day his baby brother was born, when he was 2 and a half, he decided he didn’t want to wear nappies any more because they were for babies and that was it! No looking back! My third child took ages to get it and was three and a quarter. If it had had been my first child I think I would have been really worried and compared him to other kids… but I know that they are all individual and there is no point pushing it too much before they are ready.

Sumra September 29, 2017 - 8:39 pm

This is great. I’m looking to potty train a few months after my daughter turns 3 also. I just want to be sure that it is the right time, like you said. Thanks for sharing. #fabfridaypost

Su {Ethan & Evelyn} October 6, 2017 - 5:12 am

Wow! It only took 9 days! That’s brillant! We also used cloth nappies too. They are great aren’t they.

Thank you so much for sharing with us your experience and tips on #FabFridayPost

Reply October 14, 2017 - 12:53 pm

Cloth nappies are really fab and green.


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