Pirate Pete and Princess Polly: The proof is in the potty

Have you been through potty training, or are you about to? Enjoy this latest post from LadybirdMum, on the ups and downs of moving on from nappies…

Thanks to Ladybird I remember a particular flurry of excitement at Penguin HQ back in 2011, when Chris Evans recommended Pirate Pete’s Potty to his BBC Radio 2 listeners. Potty training was not on my radar then, but it struck me as Useful Information for the Future. Well, that time is now and I have much to thank Pirate Pete for, having embarked on potty training with my own little pirate, who began showing signs of being ready a few months ago.

*Disclaimer* – this post does not contain any graphic descriptions of the aforementioned potty training, so please feel free to continue . . .

I was quite anxious about this next big stage in Zach’s development. I ordered Pirate Pete’s Potty and Zach was very keen on it – especially the cheering button, a great idea. We introduced him to the potty and big boy pants (Thomas ones, of course). We talked to him about it all lots, and friends recommended Gina Ford’s Potty Training in One Week to me as well.

This is the first time I’ve used Gina, but if there was ever anything I wanted to try and achieve in a week, it’s potty training. One of her tips was to make a big star chart for encouragement, which I was going to do, until I spied an advert for the rather marvellous Penwizard’s personalised books, in which your child stars. Pirate Pete and Princess Polly are available in this range, complete with a personalised chart and stickers, and this seemed a brilliant idea all round.

The next step was to block out time to just stay at home and start training. It made sense to use one of my Thursdays and Fridays with Zach, leading into the weekend and then nursery could carry on where I had (hopefully) successfully left off. Gulp!
Zach’s personalised book, chart and stickers arrived a few days before P-Day and they delighted him; we were good to go, though I was a bundle of nerves.

Here are seven key things I learnt during our first week of potty training:

Pirate Zachary Potty
1. It can be upsetting for both you and your child. I was prepared for accidents, but I was not prepared for my child crying and begging me for a nappy at the point he was desperate for a wee, screaming that he was scared. I held my nerve, channelling Gina and Pirate Pete at the same time. It was very hard. Having an infected wisdom tooth at the same time doesn’t help either. Avoid at all costs.

2. The total joy you feel, when your child does a wee on the potty for the first time, is unimaginable beforehand. I was so proud and he was so proud of himself, it took all my restraint not to snap a pic of it and send it to Adam and my mum (you’re both welcome). The sticker chart is invaluable too; it’s so useful to have it as both incentive and reward.

3. The total frustration and despair you feel when your child then wees everywhere but the potty, for three straight days, is entirely imaginable because you are the parent of a toddler and these emotions are not new.

4. Speaking of accidents, my son is nearly three; nothing really grosses me out any more. Obviously, accidents are part of potty training, to be dealt with whilst reassuring your child it doesn’t matter. But it’s a good job I love that boy so very much, because only a parent could (literally) handle what I did on the second day and not ask for the nearest bucket to be passed. Sorry! That’s the closest to graphic detail we’ll get, promise.

5. When your child asks to sit ON THE TOILET, having declared for three days his fear of the potty, you will be simultaneously baffled and overjoyed that you followed Gina and bought the special little toilet seat. The joy will continue when they do a small wee and seem genuinely keen on the process of wiping, flushing, washing and drying hands.

6. This process will then be repeated. Again and again. Do not be fooled, the moment you say ‘We’ve done it twenty times, you can’t really need to go?!’ is the point at which they will wee on your socks.

7. If you are able to set aside that block of time for training, and then your child’s excellent nursery carries on the work, day seven of Gina’s plan should bring a major toileting triumph (it’s all about the number twos on the loo). You will feel overwhelmed with pride and so will they. You might also need to hold your nose whilst hugging them a lot.
So that’s a round-up of our early potty training experience, which is continuing well, with some accidents here and there. Oh and he did his first big wee standing up in the bath last night. Despite nothing like this occurring in his Pirate Zachary’s Potty book, he certainly gave himself a big cheer at the end!

Competition Time: Win Personalised Potty Books!

This competition has now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. The winners have been selected and notified by email.

24 thoughts on “Pirate Pete and Princess Polly: The proof is in the potty

  1. I have a 21 month old boy so we are getting close to starting potty training so could do with all the help you can give! I think the biggest hurdle will be having enough of a block time to set aside to fo. It all and the strength to not give in and just put a nappy back on! Would love to win this prize!

  2. Angela says:

    My eldest daughter was dry in the day at 22 months – not daunted by potty training at all! My second girl couldn’t be persuaded/bribed/cajoled anywhere near a potty, until shortly before her third birthday when she trained herself in a couple of days! My son is now 7 months old so we’ve got a while to wait yet. Hopefully I can take my cues from him and go at his pace.

  3. Victoria L says:

    I’m just about to start potty training my son, as he is showing the signs of being ready. I think the biggest challenge will be time. He is starting nursery in Jan and they will not take him if he is not potty trained. I am going to give Gina Ford’s Potty training in a week a go as well. It has been recommended to me by lots of parents.

  4. Anne Brading says:

    My 18 month old daughter is currently starting to inform me when she has “filled” her nappy before insistently trying to take it off….so I’m thinking that potty training might be around the corner! Arggggh!!! 🙂 I think the idea of waiting until I have time off work and then letting nursery carry on where I’ve left will hopefully work……fingers crossed.

  5. michelle betts says:

    My tip is not to push them this will just frighten the child in using the pot. Pirate pete would be fab for my lad thanks x

  6. Rachael says:

    I’m at the beginning of training my 4yr old (autistic) and my 2.5 year old (communication issues) so any and all help is willing accepted and these books look amazing x

  7. Emma Dorber says:

    We are currently potty training child no.2. As it’s half term we thought we use the week at home to try & crack it!
    We’d love a personalised pirate Pete book.
    My biggest tip would be make sure you don’t lose your patience. It can get very frustrating at times but it’s worth it to see the big smile your child has when he gets that all important wee in the potty!!

  8. Mrs M Sawyer says:

    My best tips would be wait until the child is ready and be very patient 🙂
    We have a 5 year old who potty trained very well but we now have an 18 month old ready to potty train soon 😉

  9. AlisonF says:

    I’m just starting to think about potty training and would love a Pete for my little pirate! My biggest worry is having to leave the house during that first week. Or the week after…eek.

  10. Lisa Phelan says:

    I seriously need this princess book and any other help you can give me. My daughter will be 3 at the end of november and wont poo on the loo. Wee’s are fine but she’s pooing in her pants in those 2 mins you have to leave her alone to go yourself. This is the second time i’ve tried to train her – HELP! Haven’t even thought how i’m gonna cope with no pull ups at night time yet! 😂

  11. Sarah B says:

    My little boy will be two in early November but is nowhere near ready for potty training so we’re not going to attempt it just yet, especially with a new brother/sister due around Christmas time. A Pirate Pete book would be great for when we do make a start! 😀

  12. sarah says:

    Im just starting to potty train my daughter, she is very strong willed and very vocal so having quite a tough time. She would love to read princess pollys potty which would help her sit on her potty for more than 10 seconds. Would be a great help 🙂 x

  13. Vanessa wiltshire says:

    My little princess turned 2 on Saturday. We always had a potty in the room from her being about 18 months. I felt like this prevented fear of it being a strange object. Just yesterday she picked it up and said poo mummy! And she did manage to do one! But weeing is another challenge to overcome! I think positive re-enforcement is the key 🙂 and not getting stressed!

  14. Nicole cooper says:

    My tip (that worked for us) we got her some princess pants and told her that her nappys had gone to the little babies as she was a big girl now. Made sure we was really excited about her princess pants. This her helped massively xx

  15. Michelle says:

    I swear by potty training from an early age, for my daughter that was three months. It doesn’t ensure them to be fully potty trained, but it does make them comfortable with the potty and conditions them that when you sit on it, you go. At 7 months she would sit on the potty and even time do something. Now at 12 months she is very nearly potty trained and will be out if nappies in no time.

  16. I am in the process of potty training my 3 year old son, some days he uses the potty very well, but other days not, he will get there, but in his own time. After potty training my daughter a few years ago, I learned that the biggest thing is not to rush them and let them figure it out themselves (with a lot of encouragement of course!). I am sure that Pirate Pete would definitely give my son a helping hand though 🙂

  17. We are just at the beginning of potty training journey. Being our first child this is totally new to both her and I! We’ve had some laughs so far and i think thats the key, I want her to feel totally at ease and confident that she can do this. I have had some friends do the opposite, use cross words etc and the kids seem to take much longer and sometimes have fears of going to potty etc so for us its lots of praise, giggles and the occasional made up silly song! hehe

  18. Sharon Hills says:

    My little girl constantly had accidents the first time we started potty training. We ummed and arred about stopping as we were all tired of wet leggings and soiled knickers. We decided to give ourselves a rest and return to pull ups for a couple if months until we were sure she was ready. The second time round when she was nearly three was so much easier. We still at four have the odd moment where she has to rush to the toilet quickly but thank goodness the wet knickers have gone. She is almost dry at night and ready to start on the stripping bedding stage….. All in time for her two year old brother to think about potty training. I will be waiting until his speech is better and he can say I need a wee….. My top tips are to not push it, if they are not ready don’t be afraid to stop and leave it a month or so. Also we bought loads of cheap knickers, leggings that could be thrown away if necessary. Plus the leggings were easier for my little girl to pull up and down. My top tip number three is to get a my carry potty which you can take anywhere and everybody thinks your carrying a lunch box! Good luck. I won’t be starting again for at least another 6-10 months! 😀

  19. Gillian Jennings says:

    My son is coming up to 25 months and ready to start potty training. I’m anxious about him being upset when he has an accident as he always tries so hard at everything 😕

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