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.


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  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 7:23 am

    I ‘tried’ potty training my elder daughter at 3 years,but she was either really stubborn or I waited to long.She used to be fine urinating in the loo ,but she used to wait till the night time nappy for her Number 2🙈.I tried all the tips and tricks..Eventually one day i got really frustrated so I cut a hole in her nappy and put it on,when she felt the hole she was terrified her poo will fall out,so she went and sat on the loo and did her thing..Its been smooth sailing since..I have her 24 month old sister that needs to be potty trained..hoping for a better experience!

  • Reply
    Nabila Akoo Arbee
    June 20, 2018 at 7:46 am

    I’ve just started to try and this is so helpful. However I’m due with my 2nd any day now and my little girl is 21 months. Should I wait? I haven’t been very consistent as I’m still trying to get her used to it. My favorite tip from your list is definitely rewarding them, this is a big deal. I definitely don’t want to rush her but changing 2 kids nappies is really encouraging me to get it out of the way!!! Let’s hope it works out! The Fisher price potty would be amazing to win, my baby girl loves her Fisher price puppy and would be so pleased with another addition from their range! Fingers crossed and thanks for sharing ur tips and advice, just what I needed and exactly when I needed it too 💗

  • Reply
    Tarryn Mills
    June 20, 2018 at 10:13 am

    The fisher price potty stuck out the most for me. And also how often you must take the to the toilet.

  • Reply
    Jenny Laubscher
    June 20, 2018 at 11:04 am

    My son turns 2 in July and we are starting to think about potty training. The Fisher Price potty looks really cool, and I love that the seat is removable and can be used on a “big toilet”. That means you don’t have to buy anything additional, this potty has everything that you would need. I would love to win this for my son, Noah. He would love it!

  • Reply
    Vivienne Grobler
    June 20, 2018 at 11:08 am

    That was great! My little one is 13 months so I have a while to wait still but any tips and help are so welcome! I’m pretty clueless at the moment so all those tips where great, like taking them every 20min, keeping things on hand to entertain, letting them go on the loo as well… such a great post! Thank you! Hopefully it goes smoothly for us, it’s the thing I’ve dreaded most after birth😆

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Thanks for the tips. We going to be starting the process very soon with our grandson who is currently 22months old.

  • Reply
    Thanusha Kisten
    June 20, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Hi. We too started before my baby girl was ready but second attempt is a slow success. We use the reward system, it works like a charm. She loves getting stickers and a surprise after getting a certain amount of stickers. Let’s hope for no regression though 😃 love your blog and it’s content 😊 Have an awesome day.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for the tips. This is the one thing I am dreading to to, but everyone says it is very rewarding once done.

  • Reply
    Terry Steenhuisen
    June 20, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks so much for a super helpful post – my best tip you gave is definite number 1 – my little Olivia is SUPER strong willed so that is going to be the way to go for us 🙌🏼

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Hi and thank you for the great tips. My son is now nearly 19 months and we will be starting the challenge soon. I think your tip about waiting for him to be ready is vitally important. I’m quite excited to start, but I know that I need to be patient and wait for him to be ready. Thank you for the great blog.

  • Reply
    Loren Best
    June 20, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    All these tips are fantastic and the Fisher Price Potty sounds incredible, the one tip about waiting really resonated with me though as my little one is still only 18 months so I’ll wait until she is showing signs of readiness and then take it from there. X

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Tip number 2. Last time i bought a bag of nappies was in Feb. So during the day my son would wear his underwear and nappy at night. Just a few nights ago we decided not to do the night nappy and just go full swing with underwear. Hoping it will go smooth sailing from here onwards.

  • Reply
    Fiona Garner
    June 20, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Get them used to both potty and the toilet sticks in my head! My 2 year old little boy is sort of potty ‘learning’. He’s not fully ready yet, and we are about to move house so I will delay a little longer until we are settled. Would love to win the Fischer Price potty as a friend of my toddlers has one and my little man loves it!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Eek. Can’t say I’m looking forward to potty training. Definitely looking forward to no more nappies though! Most useful tip for me is to have all the things ready and waiting. Books etc.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Such great tips – always amazes me how different each child is. Our girls potty trained so differently – one pretty much trained herself overnight and the other took ages but refused a potty and only wanted the toilet x

  • Reply
    Zara Bham
    June 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    I haven’t started potty training yet but I will be soon and this is the first blog post I’ve read so far about potty training and it seems to hav covered everything which is great! My favorite piece of advice from this blog is the objects of distraction such as books as I have a very busy boy and I was wondering how I was going to keep him on the potty until he has done the job! So thank you for providing me with some information that I really needed! I am hoping to get chosen as the winner as this potty will make me and my boy very happy! Fingers crossed 🤞🏼

  • Reply
    Corlia Pienaar
    June 20, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I’m dreading this step of Lea-Mari’s development… especially with a new born in the house 🤦🏼‍♀️ Thanks for all the tips. Nr 5 stood out. It has never crossed my mind that I would have to negotiate to KEEP her on the potty. Eeeek! Now I know. Okay Lea-Mari whenever you are ready chicky. Mom’s got this 💪🏻😬🤞🏻🤪

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    The tip that stood out the most for me is to wait until they are ready. My little girl is 21 months old and I have questioned whether I should start potty training now or to rather wait until she is ready. I therefore appreciate blog posts like these as they have handy tips but also realise that not all children are the same and will potty train in different ways and at different ages.

  • Reply
    Gillian Haak
    June 21, 2018 at 4:10 am

    Very helpful tips, thank u. I think our fear and keeping her nappies when we out the house, has not helped. We definitely need to brave it and just go panties. She is almost 4 and was doing great, but when baba came she went back to nappies, and have not managed to get it back 100%. Baba is 18 months and will be starting with him soon, when he is ready. Hopefully not making the same mistakes again

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 5:52 am

    20 pairs of panties! I better get shopping! Thanks you for sharing your experience!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 7:18 am

    I thought it was only my kid who was obsessed with flushing 😂. Im not looking too forward to this phase but blessed to have a happy and healthy baby!!!


  • Reply
    Deruschka Govender
    June 21, 2018 at 10:30 am

    We have just started potty training Harinyah,and like u said it’s hard and a bit frustrating but we have to stay committed and persevere in order for it to work and taking her to the toilet every 30min is a must as it’s the only way she will get used to the process and familiarize herself with the toilet.
    Would love to win this potty,the whole look of it and especially that flushing sound will make her feel like such a big girl and get her more in to the potty training zone🙂
    Thanks for an awesome post👍

  • Reply
    Rafaela Tayler
    June 21, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I don’t have any tips, I haven’t potty trained yet but a few things stuck out! Awesome article!
    I love the idea of the flush and song as a reward! So clever! Seems like an incredible product! Also love the idea of entertaining with books and stickers!
    Very helpful tips! Thank you 🤗

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I am getting towards potty training my second (she is 21 months) – with my first it went very well and did at 2 1/2 – my tip is wait till winter is finished! tried to do it a 2 with my eldest in the middle of winter and she hated taking off her pants!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    We need to launch into potty training with my toddler boy soon and I’m dreading it!! So helpful hearing your experience and I’ll definitely wait until he is showing signs of readiness (I think he’s close!)

  • Reply
    Georgie Armstrong
    June 21, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Our paed said to try train exclusively on the potty as it is physiologically easier for a toddler but I know that’s easier said than done so the fact that the Fischer Price potty gives you both options is awesome!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Hi dear…your point number 3 where u stated what excites ur child the most…to be honest my kid loves to flush the toilet all the time…it just excites him sooo much i think the fisher price potty will be of really so much use to hes learning how to potry train…its been such a hassle as he just turned 2 last week and i was in the go to have him start as things just start going into place as they grow and we as parents get so adamant on trying…my kid refuses to potty train..ive tried the nappy being off for while and before i can even check hes already done his mischief..not sure if its only my kid but its so difficult…Well i guess every child is differnt in their own way..some learn really fast and some take a while evetually to get the grip…thanks so much for all the amazing tips…really i just couldnt help but i loved ur point 3 about flushing…will have to def get the fisher price potty💞

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Starting off going to the potty in 20 minute increments and gradually extending it is a great tip! We’re hopefully going to start after winter with our first born, wish me luck!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    My favourite tip is to expect regression. This is a very difficult one but something we all have to except. Thanks for the great tips

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Thanks so know ch for this post! Will need to do this soon with our little one but Winter is just TOO cold! I like the tip about how often to take them and to increase increments.

  • Reply
    Amy Brown
    June 22, 2018 at 10:34 am

    I think the tip that stuck out the most for me was to remove the nappies completely. I didn’t think that would work but it makes total sense.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Get rid of the nappy completely as it confuses the child

  • Reply
    June 22, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Some kids prefer the Potty and some the toilet, this really stuck out to me

  • Reply
    June 24, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks Sarah, this is so helpful. Kayla goes to the bathroom with everyone and keep saying she wants to piepie so we take her to the toilet just to sit and get used to the toilet. Hopefully she will potty train quickly, will start full on as soon as winter is done. Would LOVE this potty ❤️

  • Reply
    June 24, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    My top tip is definitely remove nappies completely worked with my oldest daughter

  • Reply
    Beth Cook
    June 25, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    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

  • Reply
    Leanne Hartwig
    June 25, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    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 🤞🤞🤞

  • Reply
    June 25, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    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

  • Reply
    How to night time potty train your toddler - Mascara & Mimosas
    August 14, 2019 at 7:16 am

    […] We’ve had day time potty training waxed for some time now (read about how we got it right, over here) and now I’m super happy to report that Aria has stopped wearing nappies at night as well! If […]

  • Reply
    Lydia De Castro
    April 27, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    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

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