"I've had THREE children out of nappies by their first birthdays" - Katherine Ryan makes controversial parenting admission, but she might be onto something

Things might get messy, but she insists that it works

Katherine Ryan wearing a baby carrier
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Katherine Ryan has divided parents with her potty training confession - but she insists it worked for all three of her children.

Armed with the best potties and potty training books, the general advice is to wait until children show signs of wanting to be potty trained, such as hiding or complaining of a wet nappy, which usually happens between 18 to 24 months. However, all kids develop at different stages, and even if your kid is struggling with daytime dryness at 4 years old your potty training rights mean that schools can't demand that children are fully toilet trained before they start.

Comedian Katherine Ryan doesn't have to worry about this as she has taken a rather different - and controversial - approach to potty training her kids, confessing that she put her children "on the potty pretty much from the moment they’re born."

Katherine, 40, is mum to Violet, 14, from a previous relationship, Fred, two, and Fenna Grace, one, both of whom she shares with current husband Bobby Kootstra.

The comedian revealed her parenting tactic in a new episode of her podcast, Telling Everybody Everything, titled 'Potty Trained By Age 1'. She also posted a clip explaining her potty training technique on Instagram, captioned: "Haters gonna hate but I’ve had THREE children out of nappies by their first birthdays."

A post shared by Katherine Ryan

A photo posted by kathbum on

Katherine said, "A newborn is still scrunched up, you can’t sit them on the potty, but from about the time they can listen to a story and look at a book, I just put them on the potty randomly throughout the day, and they have an instinct to go.

"It happens all over the world, just not in Western culture. We are the ones, the only ones, who train our babies to go in a nappy."

The comedian went on to add, "What I’m not doing when I potty train my kids young is I am avoiding the stage where the rest of us in Western culture train them to go in their pants.

"And then it becomes really easy at six months when you start to wean them and give them solid food, then they make a face when they need to go for a poo because it’s no longer breastmilk poo that goes everywhere."

However, Katherine also made a confession that might put many parents off trying her controversial technique. She said: "So yeah, in the early stages, when my children are learning to walk, they do chuck a p*** here and there on the ground and you have to be very careful that they don’t slip in it."

But, she added, "They see themselves peeing and they learn what peeing is."

The comedian finished the clip by saying, "Just make it part of the culture of your home, that we pee on the potty."

But while Katherine has used her parenting tactic to successfully potty train all three of her children, her followers were not convinced. One user wrote underneath the Instagram post "I appreciate the input. But, I had no qualms with my kids wearing diapers/pull-ups as long as they needed. They developed on their own time and we never, not once, had “accidents” after they started wearing undies."

Another added, "If you’re lucky enough to not have to work during the day, sure", while one follower pointed out, "Every child is different...find your own way and please do not preach one way on social media."

But plenty of users supported Katherine Ryan's controversial tip. Vicki Broadbent, aka @honestmum, commented, "Such great advice. Find potty training easier in the summer when it’s warm but will try this mum hack of naturalising sitting on the potty wherever and whenever, thanks".

Meanwhile, TV presenter Dr Ranj Singh added, "You actually have a point… there’s good evidence that potty training early has better outcomes and less issues in the long term! But obviously also depends on the individual child/family situation."

In other celebrity parenting news, Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester worries she's 'not doing enough as a mom' and Chris Hemsworth reveals why his son doesn’t call him ‘dad’. Elsewhere, Victoria Beckham reveals her and David’s parenting rules.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.