The first of my books for Netmums, this is a friendly, non-prescriptive guide to all the usual quandaries faced by mums and dads during the pre-school and primary years.

You can download a copy here >

Here’s an excerpt from ‘Toddling to Ten’

At some time or other, there comes a point when small children are ready to leave their nappy days behind them. Achieving control of their bladder and bowels, and learning how to use a potty or loo, is a normal physical and social developmental stage, which they all get to eventually. But they usually need a little help with it. Which is where the fun starts.

Previous generations of mums had their children out of nappies much earlier than is normal these days, no doubt driven by the misery of soaking, washing and hanging a load of dirty terry towelling nappies every day. These days, it’s widely recognised that children will only be in full control of their toilet habits when they’re physically, verbally, and emotionally ready, which is generally later than assumed in the past, and extremely variable, but commonly somewhere between two and four. Unfortunately, a certain amount of social pressure lingers – much of it from the aforementioned previous generations – which means that a lot of mums are tempted to try too early, or worry if it’s taking longer than they thought. But potty training is not a race, and a successfully potty trained child is no more advanced or intelligent than one who isn’t. Wait until they’re ready – whenever that may be – and you’ll be halfway there.

If you attempt to potty train too early, you’ll almost certainly fail. The pressure could make them anxious and they may take much longer, or they may succeed only to regress a bit further down the line. If it does become obvious they’re not ready, because they don’t seem willing or are having lots of accidents, the thing to do is to stop, relax, go back to nappies, and to try again later. 

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