Potty training my 3 year old

I’m not sure what it was that clicked in that scraggly-haired head of his… Maybe it was being at nursery and realising that none of his friends wore nappies, maybe it was the visit to big school that did it? Maybe it was the promise of loads of chocolate biscuits, a Thomas film, a new Trackmaster Train and the return of his iPad which did it? Yeah… quite possibly the latter.


In the end… I think he just decided that he was ready.

Here are our secrets to potty training success

We began by subtly introducing the idea. We swapped out bedtimes stories with potty themed books and recorded potty-related shows from the CBeebies channel to stick on randomly through the day – My First (we really like this one) and Bing (we only watched this one once as it’s actually awful).

We personalised the potty. I let Travis choose his potty and stickers to decorate. He went for a blue Pourty (these are fab!) and several sheets of Thomas the Tank Engine stickers (of course).

We bought big boy pants. Again, Thomas… Which surprisingly, he hated!
The pants were a massive issue – he would freak out if I suggested he wear them. So, we went slow with the pants and just got them out to look at from time to time. We tried nappy free time but after the pants episode, he’d demand a nappy back on immediately.

And with everything in place, we waited for his cues… and waited… and waited some more.

When your son is nearly 3.5 years old and still in nappies, it’s hard not to get frustrated. It’s hard not to take notice of the disapproving comments from family members. It’s hard not to feel embarrassed when all of your mummy-friend’s kids of the same age have been potty trained for the last 6 months (most now are even toilet trained).

Secrets to Potty Success


What a bloody miserable, rainy day Tuesday was. We had nothing to do, nowhere to be, nowhere to go. A perfect day to potty train you might say…

I almost didn’t even bother suggesting it as I was afraid of being shouted “NO” at again and the tantrums that would follow.

I pulled up my big girl pants, made sure I’d had my coffee and begun the ‘potty’ talk with my son…

“Gosh, you’re 4 next year! Are you looking forward to going to school? We’ll have to get you using the potty as children don’t wear nappies to school”. Okay… he’s actually listening and taking this in… “Your little sister wears nappies because she’s a baby but you’re a big boy now so we’ll have to get you out of your nappies!” He’s nodding along and calling himself a big boy… And this is where the moment of weakness came in… “If you use the potty for wees and poos all day today, Daddy will bring the iPad home from the office!” … It’s not at the office, it’s in the kitchen cupboard after it was taken away a week ago because it was affecting his behaviour. But sod it, it worked!

And then, my darling 3 year old started to barter with me. Whatever he wanted, he could have, so long as he used the potty all day.

THE NAPPY CAME OFF! We had bare-bottomed day and he was absolutely amazing at taking himself off to the potty! We celebrated with high 5’s and chocolate biscuits. We took photos of pee and poo and sent it to loved ones. We said goodbye and waved as we flushed potty contents down the toilet. We danced and we sang. What a victorious day!


We even had luck with the pants! We were on a roll! He ended up trying on every pair of pants he owned (ahh, the novelty), but in the end he preferred being butt-naked.

As a mother of a son, nothing prepares you for the day that they discover their penis…

“Mummy my willy has disappeared”… I hesitantly look over to find he’s tucked it in between his legs and is finding it quite hilarious.

“Mummy look at my willy, LOOK AT IT!” Oh bloody hell! He’s pulling it to see how far it stretches. I am NOT cut out for this!!


By the end of the day, he was going to the potty without being reminded, taking it upstairs, emptying and flushing it and washing his hands, all by himself. He finally did it and I am so SO proud of him!

Next steps… No nappies at nursery and switching out the potty for the big boy toilet! Wish us luck!


Click here to read how I got on with ‘Toilet Training my 3 year old!’


Are you potty training? How are you finding it and what is or isn’t working for your little one?



  1. October 26, 2017 / 1:39 pm

    Haha, oh my word. Potty training is one of the few parenting things that I would skip entirely if I could! My first child made it seem easy, potty training just after 2yrs, but then my second was like your son, 3.5yrs and just so not interested (I don’t even remember how it all went but he did get p/t’ed!) My third was around three and he hadn’t been interested either so it took a lot of singing and dancing on my part *sigh* My youngest is 16 months and I’ve no idea when she’ll be ready (nor do I care at this point! lol)
    It feels SOOOO good to have that milestone behind you, patience seems to be key. 🙂

    • October 26, 2017 / 1:56 pm

      Haha! Are you eldest two boy or girl? X

      • October 26, 2017 / 2:01 pm

        First-girl, Second-boy, Third-boy, Fourth-girl, Fifth (on the way)-girl. 🙂
        I realized the other day that I will never have to potty train another boy (because this baby is our last) and I literally celebrated, lol.

        • October 26, 2017 / 2:59 pm

          That’s really interesting as I’ve always heard that girls pick it up way earlier than boys and your children have definitely proven that so far. It gives me hope that my little girl (only 13 months currently) will give me an easier time than my son lol x

          • October 26, 2017 / 3:33 pm

            Yep, more than likely! ^_^

  2. October 27, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    Congratulations :-). Great post. I loved those memes :-).

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