Step Step 3

Start practising

Once you’ve moved on from nappies, it’s all about getting some valuable practise in place. From building a routine to top tips for boys and girls, there are many fun games and activities you can enjoy together to start practising.

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Getting into big kid habits takes time and lots of practise. To help them succeed, it’s also essential to give them consistency, routine and a positive attitude!

Practise makes perfect!

Potty training seems like one skill, but it actually combines many complex tasks, from being aware of the need to go, to pulling down clothing, to controlling muscles, to remembering to wash hands. This is going to take some practise! Start with one skill at a time, such as sitting on the potty, or pulling the Huggies® Pull-Ups® up and down. Have fun with your child and turn these mini activities into a game.

Next, bring your child into the loo during the times of day when wee or poo are most likely to happen, and see if they can get anything into the potty. Most children will learn to wee in the potty first, but it’s certainly not a requirement. Some children will master pooing in the potty first; it just depends on your child’s anatomy and personality. So observe your child’s behaviour and follow their lead. You might even have your little one sit on the throne while you read a potty book or find something entertaining to do. Reward any success with a silly dance, song and sticker on the chart!

Heather Wittenberg

Child Psychologist and Mum of
four Dr. Heather Wittenberg

2 STRETCHY SIDES

Super Stretchy Sides

Huggies® Pull-Ups® learning pants have super stretchy sides, helping little hands practise pulling the pants up and down – just like real underwear.

Building a Routine

Consistency and repetition create a safe and predictable environment, which kids love as it lets them feel in control. And this in turn helps them to learn. Top tips for building a good routine are: 

Toilet timer

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Introduce set times throughout the day to visit the toilet, like after a nap or before lunch. Maybe set a timer for every 30 mins as a reminder?

Chart your progress

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Keep track of your child's progress with a potty training chart to see if you can detect a pattern developing. If a pattern begins to emerge, adjust your routine to include key times.

Creating a routine

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Incorporate potty visits into some of your other existing routines such as the bedtime routine or getting ready routine.

Be consistent

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Once you make the switch to potty training pants it's important to be consistent sending a clear message to your toddler that they have moved on from nappies.

Articles

Everything you need to know to get through Step 3

Sitting On The Toilet

Potty or toilet?

When potty training, some parents choose to use a potty, while others prefer the toilet. But which is best? We look into some of the benefits of each:

Potty for potties

The plus points of a potty are that it’s small and low to the ground making it easy for young children to use. No training seat or step stool is required, and it’s simple to transport, which allows for consistency wherever you are. With a huge range of styles, colours and designs available and no noisy flushing sound to contend with, some kids find them less intimidating.

Team toilet

Some parents prefer to bypass the potty in favour of the toilet. A big advantage here is that your child learns to use the toilet from the outset, effectively removing one of the steps to total independence. Children are also able to use the toilet anywhere they go without the need to carry a potty around. And some argue that it’s cleaner and less hassle because you can simply flush after use.

Ultimately, neither makes the process any quicker, so your decision comes down to what your child prefers and what you will both find most practical.

Weeing On The Potty

Learning to wee on the potty

During potty training, toddlers are likely to get the hang of weeing on the potty before they feel happy to poo on it as wees are fairly instant and easy to do.

That’s not to say that all children are keen to sit on the potty and have a go, they’re likely to need a little encouragement to help them feel comfortable.

Look out for cues that your little one needs a wee, such as wriggling or hopping from one foot to another, and suggest that they try sitting on the potty to see if anything happens.

If they’re a little nervous around the potty, encourage them to take ownership of it by decorating it with stickers and sitting their teddy on it.

When little boys are first learning to wee on the potty, it’s best to get them to sit down to avoid little accidents. Once they move on to the toilet and are feeling more confident, they can learn to stand and aim. Aiming stickers are a fun way of helping them hit the target and avoid little spills.

Pooing On The Potty

Learning to poo on the potty

For most toddlers, learning to poo on the potty presents it’s own challenges and usually takes longer to master.

For starters, pooing on a potty feels very different from pooing in a nappy. If your little one is used to doing their poos while standing up or on the move, trying to do one on a potty can feel quite strange and uncomfortable.

A hard poo or an unpleasant experience like being splashed by wee or toilet water while pooing can put children off trying again. Strange as it sounds, many children also see their poos as a part of them and feel upset about them being be flushed away.

Help your little one overcome these fears by encouraging them to sit on the potty while wearing their Huggies® Pull-Ups® to poo. Whenever they do a poo, empty the contents of their training pants into the potty or toilet and explain that this is where it's supposed to go before asking them to help you flush it away.

Bit by bit, encourage them to try doing a poo on the potty and give them plenty of praise and reward for their efforts. With time and patience, your toddler will be using the potty for poos as well as wees.

Finally, learn to pick your battles. During the potty training process it's far more important to coerce and encourage your toddler to have a go than to get into a standoff situation! A reward chart with fun stickers can really help persuade a reluctant potty trainer!

Washing Hands

Now wash your hands

The importance of careful hand washing to stop the spread of germs is a lifelong habit to teach your little potty trainer. Talk to your child about germs, so he or she understands why we scrub our hands and how we need to do it every time we use the potty. Little kids love the foamy soap dispensers and trying new scents and colours of soap at this stage.

Be a good role model

Your child takes notice of what you do and learns from your example. Seeing you wash your hands after each trip to the toilet will help them understand that it’s a normal part of the process. As with the other steps, explain what you’re doing and why it’s important.

Break it down

While it’s second nature to you, young children need to learn how to properly wash their hands. Show and explain each step carefully, from wetting their hands and applying soap, to rubbing all over – including in between fingers and the backs of their hands – and rinsing and drying their hands properly. A good hand wash should take about 15 seconds, which is about the time it takes to sing the 'Happy Birthday' song twice.

Make it fun

Hand washing is a step that kids often skip when they’re desperate to get back to whatever they were doing before a loo stop. Help them remember by teaching them a song to sing while they wash, and by letting them have their own special soap and towel. Washing their hands is as much a part of potty training as the other steps, so it deserves praise and reward too.

Wiping

Wiping

Although wiping will need your supervision for a while yet, teach your toddler some good germ-free toileting habits every time they use the potty. Here’s how to help your little one understand what's expected:

Wiping after a wee

Show your little girl how to take a few sheets of toilet paper from the roll, scrunch it or fold it for use and then wipe, reminding her that it's very important to wipe from front to back to avoid causing infection. Teach boys to give a little shake, or even a wipe, to get rid of the last few drops of wee.

And after a poo

A toddler’s coordination, ability and full comprehension to effectively wipe after a poo will take a while to develop. In the meantime, try letting your little one have a go after you've wiped first, remembering that you may be doing this step long after the other stages of independence are achieved.

Hygiene

Show your child how to pull the right amount of toilet paper off the roll and get it ready for wiping. Teach your child to keep wiping until the TP is left clean, using a fresh wad of paper each pass until it’s spotless. As your child gets older and dexterity improves, they will be able to handle this task themselves. But this is one task you’ll likely be helping with for some time to come.

Reminders

Useful reminders

There’s a lot for toddlers to remember when it comes to potty training, so a few reminders will ensure they get the hang of things.

Flushing the toilet

Toddlers don't always understand that the toilet should be clean after they use it; so inject some fun to help them remember to flush! A coloured toilet bowl cleaner, which changes the water from clear to colour, can serve as an entertaining reminder. Some young children have an initial fear of the flushing toilet, so bear this in mind if your toddler is reluctant to flush and be patient with this step.

Step by step

If the full process of using the bathroom is proving too much for your little one to remember, make a sign or download one of our door hangers to demonstrate the simple steps of potty etiquette, including sitting on the potty or toilet, wiping, flushing and washing hands.

Whistle while you wash

Many kids skip the hand washing bit or certainly don’t spend long enough to achieve a good wash. The World Health Organisation recommends spending 15 seconds on hand washing to do it properly, so why not encourage them to sing a song while they scrub?

Potty Training For Girls

Potty training girls

You may have heard that girl’s potty train a bit faster than boys, and it’s true — but only on average. Girls tend to complete potty training about 3 months earlier than boys. What really matters in potty training though, is your daughter’s unique development and personality, plus the fact that toddlers naturally want to learn to be independent. With their slim design and super stretchy sides, Huggies® Pull-Ups® are simple for toddlers to pull up and down all by themselves. Here are some more handy tips for helping girls use the potty:

  • Try having your daughter “teach” her teddy to use the loo by sitting it on the potty, and watch for cues that she may need to go as well, such as wriggling or holding her crotch. When you see the signs, ask if she’d like to sit down to try, too. 
  • Choose potty-training friendly clothing, such as trousers with an elasticised waist, a dress or skirt with Huggies® Pull-Ups® on underneath. Avoid overalls, tights, and anything fussy.
  • Have your little girl visit the toilet with you, and explain everything you’re doing. Let her curiosity lead the way.
  • If she seems wary of the potty, try the “backsplash” method: Have your daughter sit backward on the toilet (with no potty insert). This position creates a better sense of stability.
  • Once your daughter has mastered using the potty, it’s time to start to show her how to wipe herself. Girls have an increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) at this age because of their less-than-perfect wiping techniques. In fact, instead of wiping, teach her more of a “blotting” motion after she wees, to prevent her from accidentally pulling bacteria up.
  • Keep a positive, encouraging attitude as your child tackles this big milestone. Your patience will pay off!
Potty Training For Boys

Potty training boys

You may have heard that boys potty train more slowly than girls — but that’s a bit of an old wives’ tale. On average, girls do tend to complete potty training about 3 months earlier than boys, but each child is on their own individual schedule. What really matters in potty training is your son’s unique development and personality. Here are some handy tips for helping boys use the potty:

  • Try having your son “teach” his teddy to use the loo by sitting it on the potty, and watch for cues that he may need to go as well, such as wriggling or holding his crotch. When you see the signs, ask if he’d like to sit down to try, too.
  • Choose potty-training friendly clothing, such as trousers or shorts with an elasticised waist, with Huggies® Pull-Ups® underneath.
  • Boys look up to their dads and big brothers; so let your little one visit the toilet with the big guys to see how it’s done.
  • It’s best to start teaching your little boy to use the potty sitting down. Standing up and aiming are skills that can come later.
  • Another trick to try is the “backsplash” method: Have your son sit backward on the toilet (with no potty insert). This position creates a better sense of stability.
  • As your son gets more advanced, you can use aiming stickers in the potty or have him use small floating O-shaped cereals for target practise.
  • Boys don’t need to wipe after they pee, but should be taught to shake or tap before climbing off the potty.
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Tools & Activities

Tools and Activities to help you complete Step 3

Door Hangers

Have fun cutting out these Disney door hangers together, and give your potty training star a sense of pride and independence.

Download Boys' Door Hanger   Download Girls' Door Hanger  
Tools Door Hangers

Success Chart

Mark your child's potty training successes by placing a sticker next to their achievements.

Download Boys' Success Chart   Download Girls' Success Chart  
Tools Success Charts

Find the Potty

Make the potty something your toddler will find fun with this hide and seek style game.

Download Find the Potty Game  
Activities Find The Potty