Potty Training Tips

Toddler potty training. reading books on the toilet.

Now that we have successfully gone through our potty training journey, it seems like it was easy, but it definitely didn’t feel like that while we were going through it. It was one of those milestones I secretly wished would take care of itself, with minimal intervention from my side, but we all know it doesn’t work like that. I put together a few tips that were most useful in our potty training journey.


1. Wait for your child to be ready:

When I think back, it started almost a year ago when Khumo started pulling off her nappy. I remember reaching out to my Facebook mommies when she started refusing to wear nappies and that’s where I discovered just how early some moms and tots were ready for potty training (some as early as 16 months). During this time, I was also dealing with subtle pressure from my mom to keep trying.

So there I was, feeling both determined excited that we would be over and done with nappies before her second birthday (which was in March), but it was not meant to be. Although she didn’t want to wear a nappy, she wasn’t interested in sitting on a potty or a toilet seat. The only time she would really let me know, was when she was running around the house with no clothes on.

I decided not to force things and let her enjoy a few more months in diapers. This break coincided with autumn and winter so it only made sense to wait it out.


2. Check that the school is on-board with your potty training plan to keep consistency:

Another challenge that I found the first time we tried, was that we were making effort at home, while her playschool wasn’t being as consistent – which I couldn’t really blame them for, it’s easier to train the whole class than one child. Just become my child was “ready”, it didnt mean that the rest of the class was as well.

When spring started, the school sent out messages that they would be starting potty training and we were asked to pack pull up nappies, a few pairs of panties and an extra pair of clothes, so there was no running away.  Keeping the consistency is very important – if one party back tracks, then the whole routine goes out of the window. So the same had to be practised when she visited her Gogo’s over the weekends.

I kept in touch with her teacher to check on her progress and she was so proud of Khumo, which was encouraging to both of us.


potty training tips

3. Commit to undies full-time:

I didn’t want to confuse her with changing between panties and nappies at different points of the day, so my strategy was to put her in panties during the day and only switch to a pull-up nappy at night. No nappies during the day!

I believe this was a huge contributing factor to getting her used to letting us know when she needed to go.

I went out and bought her the prettiest and brightest panties I could find, to get her excited and I kept showing her that Mama also wears them, lol.

This change to full-time nappies did limit us in the beginning, because we spent most of her first weekend of potty training indoors –  I was paranoid of being too far away.  I took her to the loo every 20-30 minutes, it was draining, but I think this was what made her suddenly switch to telling us each time she wanted to go to the loo. It had become a mini-habit.

In her first week, she had two accidents and since then no more – it’s been over a month now. I couldn’t believe it. I certainly wasn’t this lucky with my son – I remember throwing away a few pairs of his badly soiled undies.

Now we’re at the point where she wakes me up for the loo during the night (I honestly dread it each time, but that’s part of the consistently I was talking about earlier, so I have to do it). I don’t want to let go of the night-nappy just yet, I think I will give it a few weeks or months until she tells me she doesn’t want it otherwise, it feels like I’m putting too much pressure on her.


Potty training
Potty available at Shoprite for R49,99

More potty training tips:

  • Talk about it – prepare your toddler as much as you can, way before you start. Tell them that you’re going to get them a potty/toilet seat and special undies. Build up the hype and excitement for it. When they follow you to the loo, as they do, tell them that you’re excited for them to use to big loo as well.
  • Get the right “device” – get to know which potty training instrument your child prefers. We got both a pretty pink potty for R50 at Shoprite as well as a seat that goes over the toilet and she would inter-change.
  • Encouragement plays a big role in potty training – we made sure we showered her with praise when she would use to loo. We would make a huge deal out of it – clap, tell her we’re proud of her and even phone other family members in front of her, etc. It sounds crazy but it works, they become so proud.
  • Related to the above point is keeping your cool when they do make accidents. Assure them that it’s okay and keep it moving. This is all new to them and it will take them time to get used to the new routine.
  • Switch from regular nappies to pull-up nappies, it will make trips to the loo easier and they have the same look-and-feel of regular underwear.
  • Reward it – if you use a reward chart for other good behaviour, start including successful trips to the loo on there as well.
  • Entertainment – make the bathroom a fun place to be, by leaving some of  your toddlers favourite books and toys in there.
  • Most importantly, always remember that every child is unique and will reach their milestones at different times. If they aren’t ready, hold back a few months.


Overall, I know that it isn’t an easy process and it doesn’t happen overnight. When things get challenging, keep reminding yourself that one day nappies wont form part of your monthly budget, that’s the best thing about this!

This post was powered by Shoprite, but as usual, all opinions and experiences are my own.

Visit the Shoprite baby page for tips and specials or shop the latest nappy and baby specials on the Shoprite app, which you can download here.

What is your potty-training experience? I would love to hear hwo you tackled this milestone. If you have questions for me, drop them in the comment section and I would be more than happy to respond to them.

Modern Zulu Mom

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  1. I have a 2-year-old girl, and we haven’t potty trained yet because she got really anxious when we went to buy her a potty. She cried hysterically at the shop, and the fact that she had been dealing with constipation didn’t help either. I am really anxious and frustrated as I am expecting another baby, and pregnancy is just messing up with my energy levels. I am planning to start with the training tomorrow though because she is showing signs that she is ready; like she just doesn’t cooperate in the whole nappy changing routine and we had to throw away a fresh nappy because she ripped it off. Plus constipation has been taken care of. Trying to channel some positive vibes…

  2. My goodness, I’m really struggling with this! I’m just frustrated! She gets excited about wearing the panties, but thereafter, she just lets go, no effort done! I’m afraid she’s outgrowing the nappies!

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