Potty training tips and what worked for us

I’m just going to be honest with you, potty training has been the most challanging and frustrating part of motherhood for me. But once you crack it, you feel like there’s nothing you can’t do! These potty training tips are all from our experience potty training Aria, plus some tips that we read that really worked for us. I really hope that this helps you out if you are in the midst of things, and if you have any tips that you swear by, leave them in the comments so that we can all learn something new.

  1. One of the most important tips is to wait until your child is ready. I know, I know, you read this all the time, but it’s true and we learnt the hard way. At around 18 months Aria was showing a few signs of being ready to be potty trained but once we started trying to train her, I could tell that she was just a bit too little to fully understand it, I don’t think she could “feel” when she needed to go to the potty. Nevertheless I persevered… which was the worst thing I could have done. She wasn’t ready and what transpired was a lot of tears from her, tantrums from me and just general frustration and piles of panties that needed to be washed. After two weeks I threw in the towel, put a nappy back on and decided she could tell me when she was ready. A month and a bit later, she stood in the middle of the lounge, took off her nappy, threw it on the ground and shouted “NO MORE NAPPY!” and point blank refused to put one on again. Potty training from that point was so much easier than before because she was ready and I wasn’t forcing it on her. I’m not saying that every child will make such a bold statement, but you will know in your gut when they are ready, and if they are showing resistance or just not interested, back off and wait a little while, it all comes together in the end.
  2. Totally scary but get rid of the nappy completely. Initially we only potty trained Aria for 2 hours a day and then put her back into a nappy. I found that this just confused her, being in panties all day showed her that this is her new normal. We did put her back into a nappy for her nap in the afternoon and at night, I just didn’t feel like she was ready to “hold it” for 2+ hours at a time. We have since gotten rid of the nap time nappy. She does still wear one at night even though its dry when she wakes up in the morning, I’m just not ready to night time potty train in the middle of winter.
  3. Find our what excites your child and use that as a way to reward them. So many articles say to make a big deal about buying the potty and new panties, but this didn’t interest Aria at all. My kid loves to flush the toilet, that’s what really gets her excited about potty training. She knows that she can only flush if she has done something to flush. This is one of the reasons why I love the Fisher Price Learn With Me potty, it has an actual little flush lever which when pushed down, makes a flushing sound. Aria goes nuts for it! Another great feature is that a little song plays if they do the right thing which I think is pretty great.
  4. There are many different methods to potty train but the one that worked the best for us was to take Aria to the potty every 20 minutes and then gradually extend the time over a week to every 60 minutes. We also took her to the potty first thing in the morning, before her bath at night and before and after her nap. We are now at the point where she will ask to go to the potty, and if she hasn’t been for a while, we will ask her if she needs to or not.
  5. Keeping your child on the potty can sometimes be a little challenging, especially in the beginning stages when you want them to sit for 5-10 minutes at a time. Have sticker books, iPads, story books, LEGO, food, whatever keeps them still, on hand. Eventually they get things done quickly and you won’t need to entertain them as much.
  6. The first time that they do a number 2 sans nappy is quite something and often kids are actually a little bit scared and so it can take a bit of sweet talking and coaxing. For us it took 20 minutes of me running after bare butt Aria with the potty, promising her hours of Peppa Pig and biscuits. But once she got the first one out of the way, it wasn’t a big deal any more.
  7. Some kids prefer the potty and other prefer the toilet. Aria likes to chop and change which has made things interesting to say the least. More recently she prefers the toilet and so we just whip the little blue seat off the Learn With Me potty and place it over the toilet seat and she’s A for away. My suggestion is to get them used to both, this really helps when you venture out the house. My little blue seat fits perfectly into my bag and so taking Aria to the bathroom while we’re shopping or at a friends house makes life so much easier because she’s used to.the toilet.
  8. Speaking of bags, here are some non-negotiables that you need to keep in there at all times: three or four pairs of underwear and pants, nappy bags to keep dirty pants and underwear in, a portable toilet seat, wet wipes and toilet paper.
  9. Expect regression at some stage, it’s totally normal. I think that this is especially true if your child potty trained early like Aria did, she was only 20 months. Regression can be triggered by so many different things: a new sibling, moving house, being out of routine (like being on holiday), etc. Aria has regressed a little recently and I think it’s because she was a little bit sick a week or so ago. But we have gone back to basics again (taking her to the potty every 30-45 minutes) and I can already see she is getting back into the groove of things.
  10. If your child goes to school or someone looks after them during the day, make sure you are all on the same page. It can be confusing for your child if things are some one way at home and one way at school so try to make sure you do the same thing in both places.

I thought that it would also be helpful for you to know exactly what our potty training kit looks like, and it’s only 3 items long!

– Fisher Price Learn With Me potty: this really is such a great piece as it truly grows with your child. Plus all the literal bells and whistles make the whole potty training experience fun for your little one.

-At least 20 pairs of underwear. You think I’m joking but I’m really not. In the begining you will go through so many pairs that the easiest thing to is to actually wash them by hand instead of waiting for laundry day.

-Books seem to be the best thing to use if we need some distraction to get Aria onto the potty and so we have a little pile in most areas of the house.

Potty training is hectic, but together with Fisher Price I’m about to make it so much easier for one mama! Want to win your own Fisher Price Learn with Me potty? Well I’m giving one away! Here’s how to enter:

  1. Comment on this blog post with either your best potty training tip or the one that stuck out the most from my list (this step is compulsory).
  2. Like the Mascara & Mimosas and Fisher Price Instagram pages.
  3. Like the Mascara & Mimosas and Fisher Price Facebook pages.
  4. Tag a friend in either the Facebook (pinned t the top of the page) or Instagram posts.

*Open to South African residents only.

*Giveaway ends on 26 June at 5pm.

*Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize. If they do not, a new winner will be drawn.


South African Influencer Sarah Booyens

I’m Sarah, shameless coffee addict, brazen beauty fiend, mid-size style gal and the heart behind parentingbeauty and lifestyle blog, Mascara & Mimosas.


  1. Love this article!!! We were on the potty training train two weeks ago. I gave up from frustration but reading this has made me feel that it is as simple as it needs to be. What stuck with me was finding something for them to be excited about! Isabella loves the sound of the toilet flushing and actually flushing the toilet so the fisher price potty would definitely be a great tool for our success

  2. For me it would be wait until your child is ready. It scares them when they are not ready and they regress when you force them

  3. This was all so informative!! I honestly cannot pick what stood out the most as I’m a first time Mom with my little boy Jack. You would think at my age of 40 I would’ve had all this information covered, especially after 12 long years to conceive… but really I didn’t have much information on this topic.and have no
    clue what to expect when potty training.

    If I had to pick one it was maybe that you can expect regression… honestly wouldn’t have thought that.

    Thanks for the information…here’s hoping their potty and your advice will get me easily through this stage. Fingers crossed ???

  4. The tip that stood out most for me was tip 3, the reward, my grandson also LOVES flushing the toilet… So I think he will love this potty and that being able to flush AFTER going potty will be a massive reward for him! x



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