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  • Motherhood Melbourne

Lifting the lid on toilet training. Tips, myths and how to survive!

You never fully experience the giddy joys of parenthood until your child goes to the toilet for the first time. But it's not always easy to get to that moment of giving yourself a high five and preparing the goodbye nappy ceremony. Belinda Webb is the toilet training guru and the helpful owner of The Resource Kit. It's a service based business that provides positive behaviour consulting, support and resources for children, families and educators. Belinda is sharing her wealth of experience on how to nail the transition from nappy wearing to toilet training.


HOOD MAMA SPECIAL: 40% off your first private consultation with The Resource Kit AND more top tips for toilet training. Valid until 14th March 2017. Join the hood to receive this offer.

Ok so you’ve decided that you might give toilet training a go.

You’ve got some special undies…check, a potty… check, a training step…check.

So let’s go, easy right?

Well that’s what I thought and about two hours in I was already feeling like I’d begun tackling the world’s highest mountain. After supporting to toilet train many children over my career as a special education teacher, I thought training my own child would be a breeze.

Well I was wrong.

Having to train your own child is a full time commitment, so I’ll put it simply, just like all parenting it requires a lot of patience, love, hard work and commitment. But we are mums and that’s what we do on a daily basis, right, so it’s really not that hard at all.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of my top tips for making toilet training as stress free as possible, I also want to put to bed some myths about toilet training as I’m sure any mum with young children about to embark on toilet training has been told or heard about how ‘girls train faster than boys’ or how ‘my child trained in a day’. I mean, that’s great and for some kids those things do really happen, but I want to remind you that ALL children are different, they ALL learn and progress in different ways, so firstly stop getting yourself down if it doesn’t just miraculously ‘happen’, like it did for your best friends, mothers sisters kid, twenty years ago….that’s just not helpful!

Ok so my first tip would be to stop comparing your child to others as briefly mentioned before. As mothers we are super proud of our children and want to tell everyone when they start to share their knowledge of the world- their first word, their first step, their first wee….and for us parents their first poo on the toilet can be pretty darn exciting! It was for our household.

OK, so ‘exciting’ just doesn’t hold the same meaning as it did for us pre-kids. However, we find ourselves comparing our children to others, when we hear that a child at mothers group has started walking or talking, or is independently using the toilet. It can feel a bit deflating to think….why is my child not doing that? Again I will remind you that ALL children develop at different paces, they develop different interests and certainly from my experience of working with so many children over the years and having two of my own children, I can certainly vouch for this. So just embrace where your child is at right now and don’t sweat the little things. Just continue to positively support, fuel and embrace their interests and needs.

So this leads me to a question or myths about toilet training, ‘Do girls really train faster than boys?’ While some studies show slight differences, from my experience it is very situational and I’ve had both boys and girls who have trained quickly or those who have taken a bit more time. I often tell parents that their child will toilet train when their mind and body work out the signs together, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is dependent on the sex of a child and if so, I definitely wouldn’t dwell on it, I mean where does that get us? So just give it a go and see what happens!

Keep in mind that your child will get it when they are ready, I quite often talk about it all just ‘clicking’, if you keep to the simple basics and provide them with the right supports then they will get it, as for a timeline, this is different for every child, so just keep swimming!!

‘So when is the best time to begin toilet training?’ I hear you asking. Well just like positive attitudes to behaviour, attitudes to toileting can begin well before you even dare to go nappyless. With my second child who is currently eighteen months old, my next toilet training protégé, I began to discuss positively with him at nappy changing times to develop a sense of understanding. Using language such as, ‘you’ve done poos, that’s ok, let’s get dry pants on’ and ‘all nice, dry and clean’. By introducing this language from an early age, I think roughly around twelve months old, I have developed some great tools for when I do embark on toilet training with him. We’ve developed awareness and the need to be ‘clean and dry’ whilst all keeping it a positive experience. There is never any negativity around nappy changing time and he will happily take my hand to be changed (a skill that is important when you are taking them to the toilet often during toilet training).

The actual decision to begin training is completely YOUR decision and when it’s going to be easiest for you and you think your child is ready, by showing awareness and acknowledgement of using their bladder & bowels. I would however recommend to begin somewhere between eighteen months and three years old, however if you start later than this then that’s fine too, obviously this is dependent on a child’s intellectual age and some children may not be ready at three, so contact me if you have concerns or are not sure about when to begin.

Keeping your ‘cool’ during the process is a must as you don’t want the child to think they are in trouble as they are still working out how to control their bladder and bowels and that takes practise! Just take their hand, and remain positive, don’t make a big deal over accidents. Toilet training takes time and lots of practise, think of it as learning a new skill, it just doesn’t happen overnight.

So how do you best set yourself up for toilet training? Make it a special deal, buy some fun undies, present them to the child and talk about how these are for big girls or boys who use the potty or toilet and like to stay ‘dry and clean’. Use a reward system, you know what will work best for your child, model where possible talking about using the toilet and most importantly keep it CALM and POSITIVE!

Work with your child’s signs, take them regularly and just make it a super fun and a positive experience….which does mean that you may have to get creative at different stages.





Positive behaviour consulting, support and resources for children, families and educators.


Hood: Little River


Biz owner: Belinda Webb


Favourite café: Provisions in Williamstown


Coffee order: Medium Skinny Cappuccino


[email protected]




Want more tips or a little one-on-one help? Take advantage of this generous offer from The Resource Kit – 40% off your first private consultation with The Resource Kit AND more top tips for toilet training. Join the hood to receive this offer.



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