Toilet Training / Early Potty Training








I started my 4 month old on the potty and he just loved it - all the excitement and recognition he got for going. Introduce your baby early to the potty and your child will recognise the potty just like they do a bathtub, a high chair, or a car seat. Why should a potty be any different to any other tool you use to raise your child? They actually learn what muscles to use to expel waste, where a nappy takes this sensation away.  If you think about it, you are either NAPPY TRAINING your baby or POTTY TRAINING them.  You can either teach your child to go in their nappy which creates one set of habits, or teach them to go on the potty or toilet creating a completely different set.  Either way they are going to wee or poo, one just creates good habits and one creates bad and one is just more pleasant than the other.

You imagine trying to poo with a nappy on smooshing it back up again.  This is why your baby goes so red in the face and grunts so much trying to get it out.  Parents often say, as soon as I put my baby in the high chair or car seat – they poo.  This is because they are in the better position to help them get the poo out.  It is still hard sitting on it at the same time, but it is closer to the correct physical position to allow them go.  On a potty, with their knees up and gravity taking effect makes life so much easier…. And guess what – one wipe and we are done!  The alternative being, wipe, wipe….wipe, wipe…..wipe, wipe…..little girl, wipe, wipe….. wipe, wipe….wipe.   It really isn’t that nice is it? We just don’t think about it that is the problem.



With the challenges I experienced toilet training a 2.5 year old, I decided that waiting until your child is so-called "ready" after the age of 2 may not be the best method after all. With my first child, I did everything by the book, as most first-time parents do. Everything I had read up until then, combined with like-minded parents (who were all told the same thing), spoke about waiting until your child was 2 to begin toilet training. This was deemed normal, and if you tried to toilet train your child before this time, then you would create all sorts of psychological problems. Personally, having experienced both toilet training late and potty training early, I can see how you can easily create bad habits and difficulties with your child, when you are battling with a 2 year old and their strong will. At 2 years old, a child can say NO really well!

It appears that problems arise when parents force their children into toilet training, ie. Trying to get them to sit on a toilet when they are opposed to it, etc. Subsequently, the "wait until your child is ready" theory, is emphasised to prevent this problem from occurring. The fact that force could even be a possibility indicates to me that maybe waiting until your child is older to toilet train isn't necessarily the best way to go.  I know personally, I was scared of breaking this "no toilet training before 2" rule, because of the fear "the experts" created telling me I could adversely affect my child. We all want what is best for our children, and so because I had no one telling me any different, I never thought to question it. If I had actually thought about it there is just too much common sense to ignore.



At 2.5 years old Mya didn't want to even sit on a toilet. For two years of her life I showed her how to wee and poo in a nappy.  This is what she knew.  Being a cautious personality child that doesn’t like change, it emphasised the bad habit as she wanted to stick to what she was originally taught by me.  You wee and poo in your nappy.  Listening to the experts, her actions could highlight to me that she wasn't ready, because she was defiantly refusing to go to the toilet. Once I changed my methods though and used the right tools, Mya was toilet trained in three days. The fact that it happened so quickly once I used the right methods indicates to me that I can't really rely on that theory. She could do it, she was ready, she just didn't want to.  If we waited for our children to "be ready" to eat their vegetables, use their manners, go to bed at the right time, etc then we would have children without boundaries. We need to be the mentors for our children, not the other way round.

If you teach your baby Spanish they will learn Spanish.  If you teach your baby to poo on the potty….. I taught Mya how to go in a nappy and faced the consequences of this with rebellion when I tried to take that nappy away.  As mentioned, she is a cautious personality child that doesn’t like change, so I created the problem by teaching her to go in a nappy and escalated the problem when I chose to change the habit at an age where she was really good at saying “no”.  I created the problems with my choices and my actions.  Mya didn’t know how to poo on a potty from the beginning because I didn’t expose her to it.  It really is that simple.  What you expose your baby to is what they will know, whether it’s communication, what they eat, how you live, etc.  Children that get exposed to hot curries early on due to their culture, will be more accepting of the level of spice versus a child that doesn’t.  This is normal to them.

A baby that is taught that wees and poos go on the potty not in a nappy, will simply know this to be normal and nothing else.



The question I was asked before I even had my baby was, disposables or cloth nappies.  Thankfully in today’s society the push to go for the modern cloth nappy is growing as parents are more aware of the cost’s involved and problems with the environmental factors of so many disposable nappies going into landfill.

“In conducting kerbside bin inspections, we came across the stories of the waste crisis befalling some young families, particularly those with two or more children in nappies. Two infants using 5 nappies each per day (70 nappies per week) amounts to 35 litres in volume – 29% of the average wheely bin allowance which today is 120 litres.” Christie, Anna; Restraint Project UNSW  “Toilet Training Infants and Children in Australia” (2010) 5

Taking up almost a third of a wheelie bin in nappies a week is huge.  Imagine if the solution was simply introducing your baby to the potty.  Putting your baby on the potty or toilet is totally absurd to the majority of the population, and I was one of them, but the impact disposable nappies are having on our environment is very real and we can either help the situation or contribute to it.  

 “Disposable nappies not only create a problem of waste volume, but due to their infiltration into domestic recycling bins, can contaminate post-consumer paper and container streams, rendering them unfit to recycle. Disposable nappies are also a litter problem on beaches, and in public areas where there are few or no public rubbish bins.”  Christie, Anna; Restraint Project UNSW  “Toilet Training Infants and Children in Australia” (2010) 7

The reason we toilet trained so early just one generation ago was because our children were in cloth nappies and not the lovely modern cloth nappies we have today, and due to the inconvenience, they toilet trained early.



Ky dressed as Poo Poo Boy - the superhero that did poos on the potty!

After reading Early-Start Potty Training by Dr Linda Sonna, my thinking was completely changed. In the first two pages it spoke about a toilet trained 4 month old that used only one nappy a day. My second child Ky, was 4 months old at the time. It just made sense to me. I started to use the principles outlined the very same day. Within a matter days, Ky was going to the toilet on the potty. In just one month he was doing every poo on the potty – NOT in his nappy.  At 9 months old he was even having dry nights.  At the time I was writing this he had five dry nights in a row. He actually woke up to go to the toilet – every single time to do poos, and is now starting to for wees as well.

In my research to discover more information about toilet training a 4 month old, health professionals told me that not only will I create all sorts of physical and psychological problems with my baby, it also was just not physically possible for a child under 2 years old to "hold on" to be toilet trained. Ky is one of the happiest, most contented babies you could ever meet. Where Ky started out weeing every 25 minutes at 4 months. He went on to average every 1-2 hours while awake and longer when asleep (5 -10 hours). I am no Health professional, but I am so glad Ky ignored the theories told to me and physically proved something different.  I also started my third baby on the potty with the same success.  Having toilet trained two babies and a toddler, I would choose baby EVERY time.  There is no comparison.  It simply is so much easier.

Does it not make sense that if you practice using the muscles to wee and poo, you will only get better at it and strengthen them accordingly?  If you don’t practice, then your child just continue to let it happen involuntary with no understanding of the feeling required, etc.

I shouldn't have been surprised though, because my niece was completely toilet trained by 12 months. She started walking at 9 months and was out of nappies, nighttime as well, by 1 year old. I remember at the time, I just dismissed the possibility of my child doing it, because "she was just one of those amazing, advanced children", and therefore not everyone could duplicate the same abilities. My little girl didn't walk until 14 months old. But I guess what it highlights to me now, is that it is possible, not just for the bright ones, and I am discovering parents every day with similar stories of toilet training their children by 12 months.

My sister started toilet training her twin boys at 14 months, to be totally out of nappies by 18 months, night time as well. It does appear that children can in fact hold on before the age of two, but we just have to look back in history to establish this when it was normal to start and finish early.

For anyone who thinks like I did in the beginning, "my child wouldn't be able to do that, only certain children have the skills", we often underestimate our children and their capabilities. Ky is certainly not advanced in any way. In fact, he was born prematurely at 34 weeks, being 6 weeks early. While there were only limited complications, he was in Special Care in hospital for around two and half weeks to fatten up his tiny 2kg frame, before we could take him home. So while most babies are awake and developing skills, premmies sleep – a lot in the beginning – so he took a little longer to smile, roll over, etc. So if Ky can learn how to go to the toilet, any child can. Being taught from the beginning, he just doesn't know any different – he knows what a potty is, and he knows how to use it.  Remember, it is more about us and what we expose our child to so they can learn the skill in the first place.




  1. You become more attuned to your baby and your baby's needs
  2. No nappy rash
  3. Save money on nappies
  4. More comfortable for your baby being clean and dry
  5. Teach skills to your child that creates confidence and independence at an early age
  6. No more changing poo-smeared bottoms
  7. Your child learns to use the right muscles to go to the toilet to avoid problems later (often trained out of them using a nappy as they lose the sensation of wetness, etc.)
  8. Create the desired habit from the beginning. Rather than teaching one habit, unlearning that habit, and then teaching a new one.
  9. Your baby is taught that using a potty or toilet is the normal event – not going in their nappy. Subsequently, there is no force required, it is just second nature. It is just like being placed in their high chair, a bath, or a car seat. They know what a potty or toilet is used for.
  10. Better for the environment - landfill, etc.
  11. Avoids the problems associated with toilet training later
    1. Fear of going to the toilet
    2. Not knowing which muscles to use
    3. Not understanding what to do
    4. Only wanting to go in their nappy because that is what they have done for so long
    5. Not able to read their own body signals
    6. Not able to relax to allow their body to go to the toilet
    7. Increased risk lack of bladder control, infections and increased urinary frequency



Starting your baby on a potty obviously employs different methods to a 2 year old toddler, and can require more involvement as a parent initially. Basically you have to be ready for the extra work involved with toilet training earlier, (whether your child is 2 months or 2 years) because let's face it, it is a lot easier to let your child go in their nappy. Unfortunately the nappy does make us lazier and less diligent, versus having the urgency of getting your child to a toilet in time or they will wet their pants. For this reason, it is very important that you work out your game plan that suits your lifestyle.   If you think “I need to potty train my baby by 12 months” you probably won’t even start as you have already placed too much pressure on yourself.   Don’t do this.  It is more important that you establish a relaxed way of popping your baby on the potty even if it is just once/day before bath.  Once a day means you have practiced the correct habit 365 times a year.  You and your child will only get better at it with practice and you have no idea when they may start indicating to you that they need to go outside of that once/day schedule.  If you don’t show them they won’t know.

I started Ky at 4 months because that is when I first found out about the process. At this age, your baby has head control, which makes propping them on a potty easier. Maybe you feel more comfortable waiting until your child can crawl, or can show signs of communication. This is why it is entirely up to you as parent. Your child will still regularly wee and poo every day, so they are ready when you are.

By starting the extra work now, it will save so much in the future – both time and money.  But what does this extra work involve really?  You see I had a baby, toddler, business.  I was busy.  My game plan was, I am there to change a nappy, pop him on the potty.  I can see my child is pooing, pop him on the potty.  Quite relaxed.  It just added a few extra minutes to my day, no hassles at all.  You see, I could do this with my busy schedule – and it still worked.  All I was doing was setting up a routine that worked for me, my baby and my household.  This is all you need to do – for your household and routine.  If you make these simple changes that fit into your existing lifestyle, the rewards are plentiful.  PREVENTION, NOT THE CURE!  I consider the “cure” of dealing with a screaming toddler who is refusing to wee and poo on the toilet far harder work than popping a compliant baby on the potty.  Believe me I have done both personally and there is no comparison!

Just imagine - you could save a year or more of nappies, not to mention having a more comfortable baby that no longer gets nappy rash or defecates all over itself.  By the time your baby can communicate, they already know the why, the where and the how for using the toilet or potty. There is no old habits to break and no new ones to learn like it is starting a two year old. No bad habits are established, and it is a gradual, relaxed process with an obliging child that is looking to you for teaching and mentorship for all areas of their life. A two year old is still doing this obviously, they just have an opinion now and can voice it, with ingrain habits and beliefs, which can be used to employ an assortment of different methods to refuse your requests if they don't entirely agree with you.  Take your pick…. Tantrums, screaming, crying, hitting, biting, pooing behind the couch, wanting the nappy on to poo, with holding their poo, etc, etc…..none of them are positive.



It is so simple and economical to start a baby.  You need a game plan and a potty.  That is pretty much it.  There are of course a few other tools that will help you get the job done, especially when leaving the home, but the basics are pretty simple.  What have you got to lose?  What have you got to gain?



Take a look at the below PottyTrain.TV episodes to help you get an idea of what you need.  Our goal is to help you believe you can do it, so your baby and you will reap the benefits.  (We borrowed the baby from next door to help with these episodes and she did a wee on the potty while we were works!)






Your Game Plan – Early Start Potty Training


The right information and my game plan came from reading Early-Start Potty Training by Dr Linda Sonna.  This book gives you the information that will help you establish your game plan and give you the details that count.

This is an invaluable resource for any parent wanting to start potty training an infant. The book is so easy to read with great hints and tips throughout and relatable stories beginning each chapter to help illustrate the topics discussed. Whether your child is 1 month old, 1 year old or 2 and over, Early-Start Potty Training dedicates specific chapters to cover every age group eg. Lessons for Infants (0 – 6 months), Lessons for Babies and Young Toddlers (6 – 18 months), Lessons for Toddlers (18 – 24 months) and over 2 years old. By doing this, Dr Sonna provides dedicated techniques for parents to use, specific to each age group discussed. This makes it a must for the parenting bookshelf. A common scenario is parents with a toddler and a baby on the way, it is an excellent resource that can be used for both children, making it very versatile and great value for money.

Early-Start Potty Training just makes so much sense, you are left with the question, "why didn't I think of doing this before"? The methods and techniques discussed, from potty training a baby to toddler bedwetting, are easy and relatable, allowing you to start with your child as soon as you put the book down. Dr Sonna cleverly uses factual information combined with historical data to provide a greater understanding of "why" something should be done, to back up the suggested techniques and methods.

I do mainly recommend this book for parents with babies 0-12mths.  At 12mths your infant becomes a toddler in classification, and this is where you will benefit more from a toddler program like the Whizz & Plop Go Potty Pack.   If you have a baby around 10-12mths old and want to start now, I would instead recommend the Early Start Pack which includes the system to toilet train a baby and a toddler.  So you can start your baby right now on the potty with the Early Start book and flow straight into how to deal with your toddler with the Toddler system included.