ERIC’s helpline advisor Alina has three children – two boys and a girl. Her youngest, Nella is two and has just started learning to use the potty. In the first installment of the Potty Training Diaries, Alina tackles the first week of potty training Nella.

Nella smiling
Most children are ready for potty training between 18 months and 3 years old

Nella turned two in January and after a lot of talking about the potty and sitting her toys on it, we started toilet training in earnest a fortnight ago. I had a feeling she was ready to learn because I knew she could hold on to her wees for an hour or two and was doing a regular daily poo, just not always at the same time.

We didn’t leave the house much for the first few days and didn’t get dressed after breakfast. To my huge surprise and delight she did her first wee whilst I had popped out of her bedroom – she just sat herself on the potty and did it.

Encourage your child

After a lot of persuasion she agreed to put a pair of pants on and we went from there. I’ve since found that buying knickers with the little mermaid on has made her more keen to wear them, as did spending the day with a friend’s child who’s three and been toilet trained for a while – this really spurred Nella on to ‘be like Gemma and a big girl’.

I also took her with me every time I did a wee and asked if she needed to go too. At times she would tell me that she needed to go but it was quite hit and miss.

Accidents will happen

In the first week we had lots of wee accidents particularly later in the day when she was tired.

After her tea one evening she did a full poo in her pants whilst having a bit of quiet time watching TV. In hindsight, I could have been a bit more on the ball about encouraging her to sit on her potty whilst she watched CBeebies, but you live and learn!

She told me her nappy needed changing so it was a promising sign that she was aware of something happening, although she hadn’t quite clocked she wasn’t in a nappy anymore.

Plenty of drinking water

I made sure I was offering her plenty to drink to develop strong bladder signals and asked our childminder if she could follow the same routine on the two days she had Nella last week.

We’ve worked out that blackcurrant and apple fruit shoots make her weeing go berserk – she went three times in the space of 20 minutes on Friday night – so we’re sticking with good old water!

Not quite ready for pooing on the potty

Last weekend she had the occasional dribble accident just before telling us she needed a wee rather than a full wet. I’ve since been out and bought more back up mermaid pants! But no poo on the toilet or potty yet.

She is still in a night time nappy and her usual routine is to poo first thing when she wakes up before she lets us know she’s ready for the day to begin. I’m not going to rush her with poos as working on ERIC's helpline I know it can be better to go at a gentle pace and pooing is often harder to get the hang of when you first start potty training. It may be that one pops out when she’s doing a wee or we will have some luck after all the blowing I’ve been encouraging her to do when she sits after meals.

Find out how we get on in part 2 of the Potty Training Diaries when we tackle potty training away from home...