Going cold turkey with nappies (aka Potty Training in a week)

If you're eating you may not want to read this until you've finished - you have been warned!

N is starting her nursery in September. Unlike many nurseries, this one is part of a school and therefore she needs to be potty trained before she can start.

Now, S was all done and dusted at 2 1/2.  It was just a perfect time for her and despite a few of my earlier attempts, the third time I tried (about a month apart each), it simply clicked.  She was absolutely ready.  Therefore she was a doddle to do and she was dry day and night within 2 weeks.  Amazing.  So, of course, I thought that N would be the same, if not even a little faster.  How children like to remind us that we know nothing - no matter how many we have had!

N has shown absolutely no interest in losing her nappies and progressing to being a big girl.  She is now only just turned 2 1/2 but as time is counting down, we need to get it sorted.

I have told her that she can't go to school if she wears nappies (she is so keen to start) thinking this would prompt her on.  She says she wants to start school then refuses to take the nappy off.

I bought her some lovely knickers.  She liked them, carried them around and refused to take the nappy off.

I told her we had run out of nappies (well, worth a shot) and she just said "no mummy, they are under your bed".

I told her only babies wear nappies.  She replied "I'm a baby, coo-coo" and refused to take the nappy off.


On Sunday, we decided that enough was enough and we were going to have to go 'cold turkey' on the nappies and just make it work.  Hubby was off for a few days so I could do the nursery runs with S without worrying about taking an entire wardrobe with me and pondering how to wash out a car seat.  Also the weather was predicted to be good and it's so much easier to do it in the sunshine in the garden.

Nappy off, sun creamed bare bottom and out in the garden we went.  She wee'd.  She poo'd.  But not in the potty.  Hubby collected the poo and washed the wee away from the grass with the hose.  Day 1 done.  She had lots of praise for not wearing a nappy and lots of gentle reminders to sit on the potty for mummy and daddy.  It's a start I suppose.

Monday, I took S to nursery.  N poo'd on the carpet before hubby had time to open the patio doors!  The rest of the day consisted of her poo'ing all over the garden but not anywhere near the potty. Every time we scooped her up to sit her on was too late, it was all over and she just got up and wandered off, promptly wee'ing in another corner for us.  We tried some knickers but she wasn't interested and after putting about 10 in the washing machine, it was back to sun creamed bottom only.  However, worst of all, she literally walked past me, having a poo and not even breaking her stride!  I was picking it up and washing the grass off as fast as I could as the flies were arriving within seconds (the downfall of doing this in the summer I guess). I sat her on the potty and when nothing happened after a minute again, I got up. Yep, you guessed it. I had missed a bit of poo which was now stuck to my thigh.  Lovely.  Day 2 done.  I honestly couldn't wait to put her in a nappy tonight for bed!

Tuesday, hubby texted me as I arrived at nursery to say N had already been for a poo - in her potty.  He was delighted and so was I.  It was all I could do not to ask for a picture for me to post on Facebook!  By the time I got home some 10 minutes later, she'd had another one - on the carpet.  Oh well, 1 out of 2 isn't bad I guess. We decided that food was the way forward. She loves Cadbury Animal Biscuits so bribery was the name of the game.  She got one every time she had a wee on the potty.  She had her little knickers on too today.  This meant that she started going to sit on it regularly and having a wee but she didn't want to take her knickers off.  As far as we were concerned, that was a minor detail. I had plenty of them so we just praised her and rewarded her.  Day 3 done and only a couple of wee's on the grass and one on the sofa (don't worry, it's leather and she was laying on a few muslins at the time) when she fell asleep waiting for her dinner.  It's getting better.

Wednesday came and it was S's last day of nursery at her school so quite emotional too.  N was doing well going on her potty but still didn't grasp taking her knickers down first.  Oh well.  At least our grass isn't being manured and watered all day.  In the afternoon we went to get an ice cream near our local leisure centre.  I had about 6 changes of clothes and the portable potty.  I had put a plastic bag, with a nappy on top covered by a muslin on her car seat (clever huh?!)  Checked did she want a wee before we went out. Checked when we arrived. Got ice cream. Checked again as we walked to ducks.  Asked as we reached the climbing wall I checked again. "No" was still the response. She turned around, ran toward the wall and wee'd all over the place. No problem, quick change of underwear and she was away again.  Back we came to the park and had a little play there. No accidents.  As we headed back to the car she turned and said "mummy I need a wee wee now" so I stopped, got the portable potty out and sat her on it. Right in the view of an elderly couple sitting on a bench enjoying their ice cream. Oh well, I'm sure they'd rather that than watching her wee across the car park.  She didn't go but the thought was there to ask.  Another good step.  A few wee's on the grass in the evening and another wee when she fell asleep on the sofa again (yep, I was prepared) but not bad for 4 days in.

Thursday arrived.  Poo in her nappy straight after breakfast which was handy as I don't take her out of it for about half an hour after we get up as she wants her brekkie first.  The rest of the day has been utterly amazing. She has gone to her potty *every* time. She has taken her knickers down almost every time (significantly more than not today).  We even took S swimming and she had a wee on the toilet before we went and then another there before we left.  Not a single accident today and she's not been asking for any biscuits either - she's just happy and excited that she can do it all on her own.  Day 5.  Absolutely gobsmacked sums it up.  Just 4 days ago I wondered if I would have to wait another term to start her at nursery but look at her now.  What will tomorrow hold?

Friday and we're going great guns still.  N has started using the proper toilet now instead on the potty.  We have one of those combined toilet sets with the little seat that you can pull down so that makes life so much easier. We went out today to our local pool with no accidents.  The big test was to come this afternoon when we went off to collect big sis which is an hours drive each way.  Making sure she had a wee before we left, we set off (clearly I have a portable potty in the car and numerous changes of clothes remember).  She fell asleep - that was usually the time she did a wee without noticing. No problem today though.  Collected big sis and back home. Success!  However, in the evening she had a poo but forgot to take her knickers off first. Oh well, no big deal. I took her into the toilet to try and ‘shake it out’ which really didn’t work. It ended up like some Abbott & Costello sketch with her nearly falling off her toilet step, me getting her knickers caught around her sandals dropping their contents onto the carpet and whilst entwined, she grabbed my hair which hurt and surprised me and I yelled, scaring her who started crying as I tried to pick her up with knickers flapping and emptying their contents everywhere meaning I somehow (don’t ask me how though) ended up with hands full of it and she even had it on her shoulders!  It took a while to calm the situation down and I was worried I’d scared her off having a poo but she seemed fine.  Future reference – remove all shoes/sandals first!

Saturday was another success.  Apart from the minor lapses in concentration that meant N went for a wee without taking her knickers off first, all was good. At least she was now using the toilet or potty every time.

Sunday - 1 week over.  I think I can safely say she's pretty much potty trained now.  OK there are the occasional minor mistakes but it's only a week since she started and she didn't have a clue then.  We all went to the cinema today to see Despicable Me 2 and she was brilliant asking for the toilet.  No accidents on a long car journey again and tonight she even had a poo on the toilet herself (no reminding or asking by me).  I was so pleased I texted hubby to tell him.  Isn't it strange the things we find so exciting when our children are little - poo for one!

So, if you're like me and reluctant to start potty training as it seems your little 'un isn't quite ready - you may be surprised.  After all, remember it is 'training'. If it was a natural thing, they'd do it from birth!


  1. big applause for N, have to say i finished my lemon curd on toast before I even began to read this, I just knew you'd be putting every detail in... not for our sakes of course, but obviously to remind N when she is wanting to potty train one of your grandchildren in a few decades time ;)

  2. Ooh, this is making me feel a lot braver about trying potty training with my son :) He is starting pre-school in September too and so far has no interest in going to the toilet at all! Maybe I'll try the bare bum tactic this week!

    1. I'm glad it has helped. As you see, we were in exactly the same position. Not sure she's quite mastered poo yet as we still have around 1 knicker shake per day ;-) but we've plenty of time to work on that before September :) I wish you luck. Let me know how you get along.

  3. Really appreciate the post, am currently going through this with my 2.5 year old. Did you take her to the potty at certain intervals? Or just remind her to go? My daughter sounds exactly like yours was before we started. She has got better but day 3 and she still isn't sure about actually going to the toilet before starting a wee.... Thanks!

    1. I did sit her on a bit just to give her the idea that that's what it was for but the best success was just leaving her nappy off and watching her and when she was about to squat for a wee, picking her up and putting her on the potty! It's a bit pot luck though as often she'd wee without breaking her stride :) Good luck!


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