Are You Dreading It? Toilet Learning

The Toileting Journey: Overcoming Diaper Dread and Embracing Success

Toilet learning. It’s a topic that sparks countless conversations among parents. It seems like everyone comes with their own set of opinions and strategies. From cloth diapers to disposables, from infant toileting to pull-ups, and even the idea of letting little ones run around naked in the backyard, the options seem endless. As a parent, I too found myself grappling with the best approach to help my child reach this important milestone. Unlike learning to walk or tie their shoes, bidding farewell to diapers often evokes a sense of dread among parents. I certainly experienced this apprehension firsthand.

Seeking Guidance: Lessons from an AMI Trained Expert

Recognizing the need for the right tools and information, I turned to my trusted confidante, a dear friend who had completed her AMI Assistance to Infancy training and worked with toddlers daily. Her expertise and invaluable insights as a prepared adult paved the way for a successful toileting journey with my daughter. Here are the key lessons I learned from her:

1. Cueing into Readiness: The First Step Toward Success

One of the crucial factors emphasized by my friend was the importance of recognizing signs of readiness in my child. By closely observing her behavior and cues, I could determine whether she was prepared to embark on this journey. It was essential to keep a keen eye out for indications such as interest in the toilet, discomfort with wet or soiled diapers, attempts to remove the diaper independently, and resistance during diaper changes. Armed with this knowledge, we could move forward confidently.

2. Maintaining Emotional Balance: A Key to Progress

Another valuable piece of advice was to manage my own emotions throughout this process. It was vital to stay calm and patient, avoiding frustration or disappointment when accidents occurred. Consistency and positivity would help create an environment conducive to learning. Understanding that accidents were a part of the process, I had to foster a supportive atmosphere for my child’s growth and development.

3. The Power of Consistency: Unwavering Commitment for Success

Once the decision was made to begin the toileting journey, my friend emphasized the importance of staying committed and not looking back. Consistency was the key to success. There would be challenges along the way, but with a steadfast approach, we could overcome them. Armed with this knowledge, we embraced the process wholeheartedly, knowing that it was a journey rather than a quick fix.

With my daughter showing signs of readiness for potty training at around 17 months, we embarked on this adventure, hoping to seize the opportune moment. In hindsight, I realized that waiting a few more months to let her verbal skills develop further might have been beneficial. Nonetheless, we were still within the window of interest, and our journey began.

4. The Right Tools for Success: Cloth Underwear and Toilet Accessories

Armed with my friend’s guidance, I equipped myself with the necessary tools for success. We bid adieu to diapers and welcomed cloth underwear. To facilitate the process, we had a small toilet in my daughter’s bathroom and a toilet seat insert in ours. At home, she wore cotton underwear, while a brand called Best Bottom Trainers accompanied us on our outings. These trainers resembled underwear, providing her with the desired look and feel while minimizing leaks when away from home.

5. Patience and Persistence: The Path to Mastery

To kickstart our journey, I understood the importance of developing a routine. For the first week, I took my daughter to the toilet every 20 minutes, ensuring she had the opportunity to try. I approached this with patience, never forcing her but providing books and distractions to make the wait more engaging. It was essential to keep my emotions in check, as time and time again, she would sit on the toilet without producing anything, only to urinate in her underwear moments later. After accidents, I stuck to the facts, calmly addressing the situation and facilitating a change of clothes. I had all the necessary supplies readily available in the bathroom, streamlining the process for a quick restart. It wasn’t until she witnessed herself urinating while walking around the house naked that the connection between the urge to pee and action truly clicked. This pivotal moment became a turning point in our journey.

6. The Power of Consistency: Establishing a Ritual

As my friend stressed, consistency played a significant role in our progress. Day after day, I adhered to our routine, believing it was the best approach for my daughter’s development. Whether at home or away, the toilet became a regular stop. Every time we left the house, she sat on the toilet. Upon arrival at our destination, the first order of business was a trip to the bathroom, even if it was merely to explore the new surroundings. Before returning to the car, we always made one final bathroom visit. This consistent approach allowed my daughter to establish a reliable toileting routine.


The toileting journey is a rite of passage that presents unique challenges and rewards for both parents and children. By embracing cues of readiness, maintaining emotional balance, prioritizing consistency, and providing the necessary tools and support, parents can navigate this path with confidence. It may require time and effort, but the sense of accomplishment and the growth of our little ones make every step worthwhile.

Through our commitment and perseverance, my daughter gained confidence in using the toilet consistently. Was it time-consuming? Undoubtedly. However, the joy and satisfaction derived from witnessing my child’s success outweighed any inconvenience. Looking back, I can confidently say that I would embark on this journey all over again with my son, understanding that the process is a labor of love that brings about invaluable growth and independence.

Helping HandsThe Helping Hands Toolbox has great tools to help children feel confident in cleaning up the messes that may happen during the toilet learning journey!

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