Potty-training is often viewed as the last big ‘baby’ milestone – you nailed weaning, your little one can walk, they’re saying a few words, they can (just about) sleep through the night and now it’s time to tackle getting them out of nappies.

Many parents think that once their child has cracked potty training, things will get easier. And they do, but it’s is also something that’s often feared and dreaded by parents. What if my child has an accident? What if I forget to take a potty out with us? How many changes of clothes do we need to take out with us? What about long car journeys?

The good news is: it’s not as hard as you fear it might be, when you know a few top tips… Make sure your little one is totally ready One of the biggest mistakes you can make is rushing into this, before your child is ready. Their bladder needs to have developed to a point where it can hold 3-4 hours of urine. Doing it before they’re ready can be counter-productive, and frustrating for both of you.

Every child is ready at a different age, so try not to worry if other children are potty-trained before yours is. By age 3, nine out of ten children are dry during the day, but even then, there will always be accidents. Make sure you are totally ready If you’re going through anything ‘big’ in your life – moving house, having another baby etc – then put off potty training until things have settled down. You need to be able to devote as much attention to this as you can. Don’t stress about it, this is the golden rule of potty training. If you’re stressed, your little one will pick up on it, and you’ll both find the whole thing…. well, stressful.

Consider doing it in summer When it’s warmer weather, your child can run around without many clothes on, you can play in the garden nappy-free and you have fewer loads of wee-soaked washing to do! Prepare your child It’s a great idea to have a potty around long before you plan to train your little one. Have it in their room and talk about it to them, so they know what it’s for. Take them shopping for big girl/boy pants and let them choose the ones they love. Getting them excited about coming out of nappies makes it all a bit easier. Encourage them to pop their dolls or teddies on the potty, to help them get the idea of it. Ask if they need to go to the toilet regularly While your little one is getting used to noticing the feeling of having a full bladder, it’s good to ask them. Experts recommend every 40 minutes is a good idea.

They won’t always tell you, even if they do need a wee, but keep asking anyway! Expect lots of accidents Even if you have a potty in every room, it will take a while for your child to really ‘get’ that when they feel they need a wee or poo, they should sit on the potty. Don’t get cross or frustrated, instead make sure they know it’s OK, accidents happen and next time they might make it to the potty.Have baby wipes to hand in each room, and towels too.

Praise wees in the potty After your child has done a wee in the potty, give them lots of praise. Experts recommend you don’t give them treats, but lots of cuddles and praise should make them feel brilliant and encourage them to head for the potty next time they need to wee. Be prepared when you go out, always take more changes of clothes than you think you’ll need, lots of wipes and bags for soggy clothing, and consider a portable potty for emergencies.