11 things I’ve learned during my first two weeks of toilet training

It has now been a little more than two weeks since my son embarked on his toilet training journey. And you know what they say: time flies when you spend every waking moment worrying about a tiny person emptying the contents of their bowels or bladder all over your sofa, car, friend or elderly relative.

Actually, they don’t say that at all. They do, however, exclaim that the toilet training journey is educational, and that both the toilet trainer and the toilet trainee will learn things that ensure life will never been the same again. And do you know what? Whoever “they” are, they are slap bang on the money.

Over the course of the last 16 days, my son has discovered how to hold his bladder, flush a toilet, give himself erections (with and without using his hands!) and orate his need to “poo poo” and “pee pee”. And I have discovered the following 11 things.

1. Kids who aren’t toilet trained pee a lot

I’m not talking volume; I’m talking frequency. On his first day of toilet training, my son wet himself 13 times. To repeat: 13 times! Add in a couple of successful bathroom trips and two wee wees in the shower and we were looking at a ratio of a pee for every 45 minutes that he was awake. Boy did this make me feel bad about only changing his nappy four or five times a day over the preceding 12 months.

2. Wiping someone else’s backside is pretty difficult

It’s not that I hadn’t considered the logistics of this before setting my son off on his toilet training journey. No wait, that is exactly it. Keep him sitting down, or stand him up? Wipe the drips of urine off his pee pee first, or head straight for the nitty gritty? Use wipes or toilet paper? If you use wipes where are you going to dispose of them? I had asked none of these questions prior to whipping off my son’s nappy and presenting him with a pair of “big boy pants”.

As a result, my first couple of bottom-wiping attempts were horrific tragi-comedies played out to the sound of mummy going “sit down”, “don’t touch that”, “stop”, “get it”, “eugh”, “what are you doing?” “it’s on the seat”, “you’re hurting his bottom” and “I think I’m going to be sick”.

But do you know what? Pretty soon I got into the groove of getting into my son’s groove and now we have an almost foolproof at-home poo wiping system (warning: the following treads a fine line between being helpful advice for prospective toilet trainers and far too much information) that involves him bending over and holding my legs, and me pouring a jug of water over his bottom before dabbing off whatever poo remains with toilet paper.

3. The importance of hand sanitiser (a.k.a alcogel)

Reckon your kid is always going to pee or poo somewhere convenient, where you have access to antibacterial liquid soap and running water? Then you reckon wrong. Beside the A1, in the garden in front of the ITV Studios, down the side of an abandoned building that used to be a Safe Store, my son has been out of nappies for 16 days and he has already peed on my hand in all of these places. So do yourself a favour. Pack hand sanitiser stuff in your baby bag. Now.

4. Lora Jensen’s 3-Day Potty Training Method works

If you choose to go with this method, you will have your doubts (most likely when your kid keeps wetting and pooing themselves on day one). But if you keep doing what the Potty Training Queen says then I guarantee that your toddler will get it sooner or later. I know this, because after less than two days my son was toilet trained at home.

5. Just because your kid is toilet trained at home…

…doesn’t mean they aren’t going to keep peeing or pooing themselves at nursery. I say this for two reasons. First, despite being a star at home, our son is still having the odd accident at nursery. Second, I spoke to a nursery mum who is still getting handed the orange bag of shame four months after her kid had her last accident at home.

6. At desperate times no words are needed

Maybe it was the panicked expression on my face? Perhaps it was the fact we’d leapt out of the car and run through the door milliseconds after audibly screeching to a halt just outside the pub? Or possibly it was the stench of my son’s emissions? Whatever the reason, I had no need to buy a bag of crisps or beg for a relaxation of the “toilets are for patron’s only policy”. The landlady simply looked my in the eye, pointed to the back of the pub and said “up the stairs and on the left”.

7. “The aeroplane technique”

What do you mean you’ve never heard of “the aeroplane technique”? It is recommended by the NCT, it has featured on This Morning, it has been used by Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne and… …I’m making all this up. “The aeroplane technique” is something my wife developed due to being “freaked out” by my son’s inability to pee in the bowl when she took him to a public toilet.

So what does it involve? Um, well. After taking his shorts and pants down, you grab him by the shoulders and feet, tip him over and then hover him horizontally above the toilet like an aeroplane in flight. I’ve never tried it myself, but according to my better half it “really works”.

8. Some public toilets are absolutely disgusting

And I mean unfit for human use, whoever last went here must have absolutely no respect for themselves or any other living being DISGUSTING. Think the one from the “worst toilet in Scotland” scene in Trainspotting, add a little more toilet roll and a lot more water on the floor and you have an idea of the horror that greeted the Bubster and I when we attempted to use trap two at the Hollywood Bowl, East Finchley the other Saturday afternoon.

“Daddy, what’s that smell?” he asked, on the verge of tears.

“I have genuinely no idea,” I replied, on the verge of tears.

9. The word pootease

10. My small talk has become even more poo and pee focused

If you think you talk about your child’s bodily functions a lot before toilet training (and let’s face it, you do), you have no idea how much you’ll talk about it during toilet training. I’m serious. Forget sharing the odd tale of poonamis, pee fountains and week-long constipation sessions, the moment you begin your toilet training journey is the moment you enter the big league. Which means non-stop chat about poo size, splashback, bum wiping (see point 2) and cutting soiled underpants off your child with scissors.

11. I’m surprisingly comfortable with getting my son’s bits out in public

Not that I have much option, obviously. But still. I expected to be a little less “quick, quick, get your pants down and pee on that fence” and a little more “cross your legs and count to 100 while I do a full sweep of the area for perverts wielding camera phones”.


And with that, it is time for the fat lady to sing. As you can tell from the above Midweek List, the first 16 days of my son’s toilet training journey has been an eye-opening roller coaster, but what was your kids’ toilet training journey like?

If you discovered anything I have missed, have a funny tale to tell or a photo of a horrific public toilet to share please either comment below or email fatherhood.co.uk@gmail.com.

Until next time…





  1. Still glad my kids are pretty much on their own in life now. However, there’s still the matter of the 18-year-old elaborately ignoring the fact that dishes need to be done, clothes dumped into the hamper, put into washer/dryer, ad nauseam. LOL

    • Oh yeah, I imagine the challenges keep coming. But, like you say, it must be nice to not have to wipe backsides etc.

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