English for parents – potty training

Potty training, or sometimes, toilet training. We have to go through it. That time when children must learn to use the toilet and forget about nappies.

In British English, potty only means the small pot that children learn to use, like the one in the picture at the top. This is a potty. ‘Do you need to go potty?’ A toilet is the larger one in every bathroom.

While you’re training there might be a lot of accidents. We use accidents to describe when the child pees in the wrong place. ‘Did you have an accident?’ Wet is also used to describe accidents especially in certain places, for example: ‘He wet the bed’ (past tense) = he peed in the bed. ‘She wet herself’ = she peed in her clothes. We don’t say ‘he wet the floor’ or ‘she wet the sofa’ in these cases we’d say ‘he had an accident’, or he peed on the floor’ or ‘she peed on the sofa.’

Your child will have to learn to use underwear instead of nappies. In the UK, we often say pants not underwear, both for children’s and adults’. Some times knickers are used for girls’ pants.

And by the way, what’s the verb for taking off your pants to use the toilet? Because you don’t fully take off your pants we say ‘pull down your pants’ and after ‘pull up your pants’ when you’ve finished on the potty.

You can get your children involved in the process of potty training, and learn some fun songs, and even some sign language, with videos like this:




Published by Abbie

English teacher, coach and writer. Helping English learners and teachers get more confident in their skills.

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