There are some activities which no parent can escape; rites of passage if you will. Potty training is one of them. You can delay it and defer it but at some point helping support your little person to ditch that nappy and not just wee (or worse!) on the floor is going to be the focus of your life. I knew as Little H approached two that that time was coming closer. But we had a lot going on at that time so I had planned to leave it until the spring. You would have thought I’d have learnt by now though: I have no control over what Little H does. The same week as her second birthday, she dragged the potty out from under the sink in our bathroom (where it had been sat for a few months so she ‘got used to it’) and asked to use it. Our potty training journey had started and I was not ready for it. But then when have I ever really been ready for any new stage of parenting?!
I didn’t have a plan for potty training. I’d read a few blog posts from various parents; about them deciding one day to take their toddler out of nappies and ride it out. I knew I didn’t want to do that because it would not have worked for Little H. She wanted to be independent and start behaving like a “Big Girl” but she didn’t have reliable bladder control so it would have just resulted in accidents left-right-and-centre. So I swapped her to consistently to pull-up nappies during the day (we’d been interchangeably using them with normal nappies until then) and started calling them her ‘nappy pants’. Then whenever we were near the bathroom I would ask her if she’d like to go and occasionally I’d get a yes. We started carrying a garish travel potty with us everywhere. Just in case.
Moving to the toddler room at nursery really helped Little H. The children there are routinely taken to the toilet so she would just go along to wash her hands. Slowly she copied and eventually the staff would leave her without a nappy for periods of time throughout the day. There were accidents but they cleaned them up no dramas (Guess you get past caring when you’re looking after a rabble of toddlers 5 days a week for your career!) and slowly the gaps between the accidents lengthened. Eventually, a few weeks ago, her Key Worker noticed Little H was starting to get lazy with going to the toilet. She knew how to use the toilet but had realised that if she was wearing a nappy it meant she didn’t have to interrupt her garden play to go to the loo! Cheeky so-and-so. The next day she swapped to pants at nursery and hasn’t really been back into pull-ups during the day since.
We’re about 3 weeks on from that day and the fact that she’s no longer sporting some Pampers is starting to feel normal. We’ve had a few accidents but I think that’s to be expected…and probably to be expected for some time. I suppose in my head I had expected that “potty trained” meant she would use a toilet like an adult but with reflection that’s a ridiculous expectation. She’s still young so she will have accidents. She still wears nappies for sleeping and I have several changes of clothes in a bag wherever we go. As with everything, toilet training is a gradual process. At least we’ve jumped the biggest hurdle by getting rid of the nappies. Well, until we tackle night time. But we’ll deal with moving to a bed first…
What did I learn through potty training?
- I was right to take the lead from Little H. It took her 4 months from showing initial interest to actually ditching the nappy (although there was an unplanned delay…more in a mo) but at no point did I feel stressed by that. I knew she’d get there in her own time.
- Toilet training is a big deal for kids and illness and other ‘upsets’ can set them back. Little H had chicken pox in March. During the 10 days she was ill, she was not interested in the potty at all. Then it took her a good 3 – 4 weeks to get back into properly after she recovered. I found it frustrating to start with until I realised she had a lot going on so I needed to give her some space.
- The fear of urine getting onto the sofa or rug turned me even more paranoid person than I thought was possible.
- When that fear became a reality I realised a couple of key things:
- Paying for sofa protection insurance (where they come out and clean stains for you) was definitely worth it.
- There is no point in stressing over a mishap on our upholstery because after watching Little H with eagle eyes for 99 minutes, it inevitably happened in the 1 minute I went to go and put her dinner on.
- Dealing with a No. 2 that’s escaped into a pair of pants is SO MUCH WORSE than dealing with a soiled nappy. I recently read a post from Winnettes on the same topic and she said the same – was good to read I’m not alone!
- Toilet training pants were a complete waste of money for us! I spent about £20 on some for the ‘big swap over’ only for Little H to still think she was in a nappy (because they’re still quite bulky) and have lots of accidents. As soon as she was in cheap cotton pants, no issues. They are now sitting unused in a draw…with her name written on the labels so I can’t return them!
- Now I’ve got through the hard part, I’m finding it quite liberating to have a child who is nappy-free. Sure there will be mad-dashes. But no more sore bottoms. Or having to use those horrific changing tables in public toilets. Hoo-rah!