I can happily write this post now as I have done potty training (twice!) and made it through the other side.
Potty training is one of those milestones that many parents dread. As much as you are glad to get rid of the nappies it is a task that is set about with trepidation. I approached it in a pretty relaxed way. I never felt pressure to do it at a certain time and knew I couldn’t force the matter or make the girls do it when they didn’t want to.
Having managed to successfully potty train two littles I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and tips.
Decide on your approach
I always knew I didn’t want to do a weeks intensive potty training. I know this works for some people but the thought of keeping cooped up for a week didn’t appeal and frankly when it came to Alice it just wasn’t going to be possible. There was no way I could also have kept Molly in the house for a week.
I went for a gradual approach. Trying to get them to use the potty sometimes but keeping them in pull ups. I slowly tried to get them to use the toilet. For example, before they got in the bath or when they first got up. It didn’t always work but it introduced the idea.
Choose your timings
You will learn when your little is ready. When they begin to pay attention to the toilet or start telling you when they have been it is a good sign. If they tell you before they need to go, even better! Pulling at their nappy is also a good indicator.
Both the girls were close to two and a half when they were properly potty trained but I had been doing the gradual introduction for a few months prior.
Be prepared for accidents
There will be accidents. It’s an inevitable part of potty training. Even once they are fully potty trained the accidents will probably continue. They will be too busy playing or just forget to tell you. Molly had been potty trained for months but when she started pre-school last September (at nearly 3) she would have accidents a lot. Turns out she was a shy little thing who didn’t like asking. On the other hand I can count on one hand the accidents Alice has had. Normally because I am trying to do something highly exciting like brush my teeth and don’t hear her. Try not to make a big deal of the accidents and don’t tell them off. I just said ‘never mind’ and quickly changed them in to dry clothes.
Keep spare clothes with you at all times
Based on the above I’m afraid you can’t get rid of the nappy bag yet. You will need to cart around a spare pare of trousers, knickers and socks with you at all times. I have a little rucksack for the girls so we just keep some in there. Also, make sure you dress them in clothes that are easily accessible. As cute as dungarees are you don’t want to be messing around with fastenings when a quick toilet stop is needed.
Get new knick knocks!
I can honestly say that half the reason that Alice took to it so well was that she adored wearing her new ‘Peppa Knick Knocks’. Buying their favourite character is a great incentive or take them shopping with you to let them choose them.
Let them watch
The titling of this makes me chuckle but honestly letting them watch you go to the toilet (as if we have a choice!) is a great thing. I also found it helped when their little friends were potty trained and they watched them use the toilet.
Be prepared to sound like stuck record
‘Do you need a wee wee?’ will become your catch phrase. I lost count of the amount of times I said this phrase on a daily basis. The poor children must get exasperated and think ‘I’ll blimmin tell you if I need to go!’.
Skip the potty if you need
Both my girls never used the potty. Maybe once or twice. They both preferred the big toilet straight away. Get a child seat and step and try them on this instead. Some children find the big toilet a bit scary. Alice constantly reminded me of the child who falls down it in her favourite book ‘Peepo’!
Make it fun
Try to make it fun. I know many people sing songs or get a book that the littles read whilst sat on the potty.
Don’t force it
The worse thing you can do is force it. I got to a point with Alice where I thought she should have got the hang of it and would get frustrated holding her on the toilet. She just screamed and pushed herself off. I realised that wasn’t going to work so decided to give it a break. I popped her back in nappies for a few weeks and then she suddenly turned around and asked for the toilet.
So for everyone out there who are about to go through this I hope you find it helpful and as usual if anyone has any top tips do share.