Mastering Potty Training: 10 Expert Tips for a Smooth Transition

Potty Training Consultant Susan Wallace from Settled Petals shares her top
Potty Training Tips.

We want to promote a potty training journey which allows for a smooth transition from nappies to

Constipation and Potty Training

Constipation can limit potty training success, as it can promote frequent accidents if the poo-filled
bowel presses on the child’s bladder. This can lead to urinary accidents outside of the child’s control.
It can also make children reluctant or even fearful of engaging in the potty process, if it is painful for
them to pass their poo, as a result of the constipation. Therefore preventing or managing
constipation can be key to potty training success.

Potty Training Tip 1: Exercise:


Exercise is important to ensure that bowels remaining operating as they should. Ensure your child obtains adequate exercise for their age and stage, taking into account their individual needs.

Potty Training Tip 2:Ensure their diet contains adequate fibre.


Dr Kirsty Porter from Nutrition4kidsni has an online course to support the dietary needs of your little one and prevent constipation. She also supplies 1:1 support for those who would benefit from tailormade support. 

Potty Training Tip 3:Ensure adequate fluid intake.  


Some people mistakenly believe that reducing liquid intake during the potty training process will aid potty training by reducing the number of accidents. However this is not the case. Healthy bowels and bladders need adequate fluid to continue to function as they should. A nice cup can promote water intake. Water is the preferred fluid of choice, with fizzy, sugary and caffeinated drinks being avoided.

Potty Training Tip 4: Prepare your child for potty training before you remove the nappy.  


This is often referred to a ‘Potty Learning’ – a time to support your child to understand the process without any pressure for them to actually use the potty. During this time you may want to read books with them, and help them to understand the process. The Settled Petals Potty Training Resource contains lots of information on supporting your child with this important step.

Potty Training Tip 5: Call Poo ‘Poo’ 


It is important to normalise poo and refrain from language which may denote poo as shameful. We do not want children to feel shame during their potty training journey. Research suggests that calling poo ‘poo’ rather than negative terms such as ‘stinky’ may allow for a smoother potty training journey. 

Potty Training Tip 6: Avoid punishment and shame.


Pressure, punishment and shame should play no part in the potty training process. Children need a non-judgemental, supporting, non-pressure environment to learn a new skill and potty training is no exception.

Potty Training Tip 7: Feet should be flat on a hard surface.


It is difficult to release poo when feet are unsupported. They should not be dangling whilst on the toilet. Therefore if using a toilet as opposed to a potty, ensure that a high toilet step if used.

Potty Training Tip 8: Support relaxation.


Releasing the muscles requires to wee and poo require relaxation. Blowing bubbles can help to promote relaxation as it encourages deep breathing. If your child is finding it difficult to release a wee or poo try offering them bubbles to blow whilst on a potty or toilet.

Potty Training Tip 9: Meet your child were they are at.


It is important that your child feels supported by taking account of their individual needs during the potty training process. Some children may need additional support. For example those who are non-verbal may find the use of baby sign. Makaton or flash cards advantageous to help them to communicate their needs

Potty Training Tip 10: Use process based praise.


Research suggests that process based praise – were we praise the process, rather than the individual characteristics of the child, may be more beneficial at increasing the child’s intrinsic (own) motivation. This is in comparison to person trait praise which praises the child’s individual traits. For example using terminology such as ‘you should be so proud of yourself’ or ‘you are trying so hard’ may be more beneficial than ‘you are such a good girl’ or ‘I am so proud of you.’

If you think your child is suffering from constipation it is best to seek advise from your GP first. 


Written by Susan Wallace from Settled Petals .

Susan is a Potty Training Consultant, and Potty Training Educator as she trains others to become
Certified Potty Training Consultants through online, accredited Potty Training Programme. She has a
background in Education and Social Work, and is mother to 2 children under the age of 3.

Susan offers both a online Potty Training resource and 1:1 Potty Training Support for those who would prefer a more tailormade support package. Click here for more details. 

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