Toddler- led potty training: it’s totally a thing.

I wanted to share something with you, possibly it’s a little bit controversial- I know: Me, controversial, surely not..?! 

This is the story of why we are not potty training our  nearly 3 year old. 

Lila is potty training herself; you’ve heard of baby led weaning? Well this is the toilet version. I’m not sure if this is an actual thing or if I am just breaking out of the Muma- society mould here, I’m sure you’ll let me know…


She stood in a puddle of wee, in the middle of the park, sobbing; Wet knickers, wet leggings and wet shoes

It had been 1 week since we declared ‘potty training’ had began. this is back in 2013, and I am talking about our eldest daughter Darcie. She was exactly 2.5 years old, and numerous ‘experts’ (Butty-in elders and judgemental Gina-ford types ) had been surprised that Darcie wasn’t potty trained-

“What with the baby on the way…”

I was panicing that the world would stop spinning as I knew it with ‘the coming of baby No.2’, and decided that we should of course get cracking with this potty training lark.

We lasted 1 week before I couldn’t bare to see her wet herself and struggle anymore.

I had listened to other parents tell me of their potty training antics – us Mumas have great chat, right?! MONTHS some of them had spent watching their toddlers wet and poo themselves. In public, in the car, at home: you name it.

I just couldn’t do it. It just strikes me as a bit demeaning really. I would HATE to Wee myself in morrisons, so why would I think it ok to have my child do this? Why would I make my daughter wear knickers day after day standing by while she poos herself, looking helpless, telling her “she’s almost there”. Nah, that’s not my style. So we made the decision to avoid putting pants on our kids, until they ask.

I know using that word demeaning in association with potty training is probably going to get some backs up. I know that it’s all about personal choice and we all want what’s best for our children. Of course we do- that’s a Muma’s mantra. I also realise that using the loo and making that leap of faith from nappies needs to be taught, and learnt. But do we really need to force a round peg into a square hole here?

So we waited. We waited months, and months, our new baby arrived, and we celebrated Darcie’s 3rd birthday. STILL IN NAPPIES. 

And then it happened; one spring afternoon, down the stairs she came with her Peppa Pig knick-knocks on.

Darcie never put a nappy back on again. From that moment she used the toilet, not the potty. She was old enough to tell me when she wanted to go, she was old enough to sit on the toilet without having to lug a potty EVERYWHERE with us.

Darcie is now 5 years old, and we have never had to remind her to use the loo before we go out. Nor do we check if she needs it when we are out and about. I leave it up to her.

Her accident record is Zero.

I’m not saying that’s purely down to the approach we used, that, we’ll never know. But I am sure that never making a big deal out of all of this toilet related stuff has helped her.

So now it’s Lila’s turn. When she wants to wear knickers she does. When she wants to wear a pull up, guess what: she does! Sometimes she likes to use the loo, and other times she doesn’t. But you know what, more and more she is opting to use to use it. I have checked that nursery aren’t pushing her with toilet training and they have been very supportive of our choice to let Lila decide when she is ready to ditch the nappies- and start saving us a fortune.

I suppose the point of telling you all of this toilet related goodness is because I wish I had read that you don’t have to potty train like its a military operation, and you don’t need to label it:

WE ARE POTTY TRAINING”  *like a declaration of battle*

Just introducing the potty n knickers combo and offering those things,  rather than pushing them is enough. 

They will get there eventually. It’s not a race. 

I felt a huge pressure to succeed at potty training. And for what?! To gloat like a Gloatey McKnob that my daughter is wearing knickers before she’s learnt to pick her nose?

Our nearly 3 year old has enough on her plate- she is learning to speak, to form opinions, deal with frustrations, realising that book cases make great ladders, and all the while, brewing her next UberTantrum.

She doesn’t need this kind of shit in her life right now: literally.

I’ll keep you posted on how the Toddler-led toilet training is going- I know you’ll all be on the edge of your seats awaiting this update…

Until then, I’d love to know if anyone else has had a similar experience to me and has used, or is using this method?


3 Little Buttons
Cuddle Fairy
Best of Worst

46 thoughts on “Toddler- led potty training: it’s totally a thing.

  1. I think is an excellent way to do things! Why force them when they are not ready?! I’m pretty sure I did similar with my older 2 xx #twinklytuesday

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great blog! I love your style. You do it your way and so you should. Gina Ford types can butt out! Every child is different and every family is different – there shouldn’t be a right and wrong. Kids will not stay in nappies forever – FACT! They are pretty clever little people and we sure as hell know that they know what they want. It is up to us as parents to guide, support and respect them. Well done for sharing. Alison x #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hated the pressure to potty train. My daughter had a whole host of other nastiness going on in her life (think hospital stays and painful medical procedures) and I didn’t want to add potty training into the mix too. But the pressure from her future nursery, saying she wouldn’t be allowed to attend until she was potty trained, got me really worried. I didn’t want this to hold her back. Luckily, she got it in the nick of time! I hope potty training goes as well for you (and I) the second time around! #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nursery pressure is so unfair- it’s such a shame more cant be more accommodating for those children who are simply not ready to let go of the pull ups!!
      Glad it all worked out ok for you though xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you heard the story in the news this week about Anglesey refusing to dispose of dirty nappies from kids 3+? It’s ridiculous when so many kids still aren’t ready at that age. I’ve just published a post on it
        (I don’t normally put my links in people’s comments section, but your post kept springing to mind when I heard the story on the radio yesterday afternoon, so I hope you don’t mind)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh really? And how does the council know how old your children are and where you live? Gina Ford is clearly their advisor… How odd- thanks for posting the link, I’ll defo have a read of that: very interesting!
        Big love xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They’re bringing in 3-weekly bin collections so to stop the nappies festering for that long (and being a health hazzard), they’re introducing a nappy disposal service which will run every 1.5wks. But they’ll only collect the nappies if the child is under 3!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh I see- 3 weekly bin collections? Good grief if that even legal!!
        That sounds abizmal – I had a read of your post: left you a comment and really hope your article draws attention to the injustice! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a brilliant way to do it. I’ve had varying success with trying to get my nearly 3 year old (yes I’m annoyed with myself too) out of nappies. I’m giving it yet another go next week when I’m on annual leave. #bestandworst

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like a great idea. I’ve been led by my daughter in pretty much everything. I’m not sure why using the toilet would be any different. I have just bought a basic potty for her to sit on…just to start building an association between that and the toilet. I’ve got not plan from there and she’s still young. But she tends to like a slow introduction to things…

    Hope it goes well. I think I’ll follow your lead!


    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this!!! A few of my friends have just started potty training their children and I was starting to get a bit twitchy about my daughter – who was only two two months ago – stupid mum pressure. But she really doesn’t like to sit on the toilet and asks for her nappy on when she wants a poo so to my mind she is just not ready. But I am holding my own and refusing to train until she is ready and wants to. I don’t want to force it on her or scare or indeed make her have to deal with pooing her pants in Morrisons! I am a big believer in they will do things when they are good and ready and your post is testament to that! Brilliant read, thank you sharing at #familyfun. Hope to see you again next week xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All in good time!! Thank you for your lovely comment- I’m amazed at how well received this Toddler Led PT post have been taken: great news- the end of potty pressure! Hehe. Thanks for hosting xx


    1. Oh yes us Mumas- and Nanas love a potty chat don’t we… ! Thanks for the applause! I was so nervous and posting this but the response couldn’t have been more positive: relief xxx


  7. I love this. What a brilliant approach. I’ve been nervous about potty training and how we will approach it and think I might steal this!! I completely agree that they have so much going on and kids learn at different paces. Gina ford can do one!!!! thank you #familyfun

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That is really brilliant to read! My son is only 14 months at the moment so I’ve not thought about it but have been baby led all the way so far, why not do the same for potty training too! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How reassuring! My Mam always said how she’s got me out of nappies by 18 months when my brother came along and guess what? History repeating itself, I have a daughter and son born 18 months apart too. But there’s no way I’d have potty trained her before his arrival. She’s now coming up to 2 and is showing a lot of interest in the potty. Just today I got out some big girl pants and asked if she wanted to try them on. She said no. I then went to show her what happens when you wet a nappy and then wet the pants, explaining why she needed to go in the potty when she switches. She just wanted to play with the water. So I’m thinking I’m going to hold off until she decides she’s ready. I’ll keep proposing the big girl pants every couple of weeks but I’m not going to force her into them. If my mother were still around I’m sure I’d have had endless comments on this approach. Love and miss her dearly, but I know on this one we’d have disagreed. Got to do what’s right for you and your child. Love the new term. You do realise I’m now going to check Twitter and IG to see if #tdpt exists??! 🙂 #twinklytuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love this comment- I think the older generation has a much stricter approach to many elements of raising a child! I’m glad we live in a time where we aren’t judged as much and don’t feel compelled to follow suit: freedom! Xxx


  10. What a refreshing approach…we went all out with Tigs age 2.5 in a ‘knickers and no going back’ approach. Needless to say I was that Mum pregnant, cleaning up the kid who shat herself again, and again, and again. Looking back, she wasn’t ready. Maybe next time (aargh it’s upon us again) I should totally chill about it all, and let the mouse declare when she wants to rock the tiny-bum-no-nappy look…
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goodness clearing up shat-upon pants are ain’t no fun for anyone!! Eeeek!
      I’m so hoping this approach works and she won’t still be wearing a lull up at school!!! Xxx


  11. All of mine did toddler led potty training although I had no idea it was a thing. They all of them simply took their nappy off one day and went on the toilet. There was no potty involved, just took off the nappy and done. I have been very lucky in that way, I just think it’s all about them being ready and leading the way. #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This.Is.Perfect. I have a little man that is just over 2 years old and I’m thinking about starting to ‘potty train’… we have had a potty in the house for about a year and he has sat on it a couple of times but not showed much interest… he shows more interest in the actual toilet so I’m thinking of just skipping the potty stage entirely and getting a seat to attach to the loo… got the ‘pants’ and am going to take your approach and let him lead the way… My Dad has a 4 year old and they kicked themselves for not doing it earlier but then as he was older he took to the toilet straight away! Much easier they said!
    ❤ #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I would definitley agree to a degree when Alfie was potty training we were more or less led by him, the pooping took a bit longer to get the hang off but weeing he got the hang of brilliantly and we had very few accidents, I mean we did have them but not too many. Thanks for linking up! #bestandworst

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love this – how refreshing and now that you say it, of course it makes total sense – who would want to wet themselves while they are out, it’s kind of humiliating, even though they are only young. There’s always this pressure for our kids to be hitting certains milestones at certain times, and I hate it…they all do things when they are ready. My little one is 17 months and only says a few words, but I’m just letting her develop as she does naturally…she’ll get there. Fantastic post, you must keep us posted! Thank you for linking up to #dreamteam x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think potty training is definitely a touchy subject from both sides of the coin, you’re judged if you do it too ‘early’ and judge if you do it ‘late’ (air quotes used for both statements!) I decided to potty train just before my boy turned two and I was lucky enough that he was dry during the night straight away and picked up going to the potty after a week but everyone was adamant he was too young, including his nursery. I think you have to stick to what you think is right for you, every child will get it at some point whatever your approach x #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I just read this post on huffpost and wanting to swing by to comment. This is exactly how I ‘trained’ both my girls. The first, I sat her on a potty one day, pleaded with her to stay put until she wee’d, but my daughter hated it. I tried for an entire afternoon to get her on the potty, the result was a lot of tears and a couple of accidents on the floor. So I decided she wasn’t ready and left it. Months passed, then one day when she was 2 years 10 months, she asked to go to the toilet (even though she was wearing a nappy), then a couple of hours later she asked again. I stopped putting nappies on her that same day, and she never had a single accident! We went on holiday a week later and I was worried about making it to the toilet on time and her having accidents, as you constantly hear about when people are ‘potty training’ their toddlers, well she was dry the entire time, always asked to go to the toilet and managed to hold it until we found one. So second time around I just waited until my daughter decided she was ready and same thing again, dry from the day she started using the toilet, she was almost 3 too. Now I’m waiting for my son (2years 2months old) to let me know when he is ready. I’m actually quite against ‘potty training’ now, seems completely degrading and cruel to allow your child to wet themselves repeatedly. When I hear a mum say ‘it took us 3 months to potty train’ what I really hear is ‘we allowed our child to wet and mess herself and constantly prompt her to sit on a potty for 3 months before she was actually ready’. I could’ve spent about 6 months ‘training’ (ie allowing accidents to happen) my first daughter, then when she was naturally ready, claim it was a result of our 6 months of training. When will people come to realise this is a thing that happens naturally and cannot (and in my opinion should not) be forced!


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