I feel like potty training is one of the major events in the first few years of your child’s life, and now we’re dry in the daytime with our oldest, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and how we went about it.
My first, and most important, piece of advice for anyone who’s nearing the stage is don’t rush it. I truly believe some parents make it 100x harder for themselves by trying to do it before their child is ready and therefore it takes months and months rather than weeks or even days.
Listen to your child: it could be they wake up on their second birthday totally ready to ditch the nappies, but they might be closer to four before they’re ready. In my mind, the only deadline was Alexandra going to school this September as I knew she needed to be dry by then. But other than I didn’t feel any pressure at all, even though many of her friends had started training before us.
Even if they’re not ready, you can still start introducing the idea slowly. For a while, we had a potty around in the lounge, and we talked a fair amount about potty training, being in big girl pants etc. Alexandra had even done a few wees in the potty.
For a couple of weeks, she was asking to use the toilet at nursery – I think partly because most of the children in her room were already potty trained and she probably wondered what she was missing out on when they all trekked to the toilet at certain times in the day! Then over one weekend she asked repeatedly to use the potty or toilet at our house, so we felt like the time was right to try.
On the Monday, I just asked her casually if she wanted to wear big girl pants to nursery, she said yes, so that was that. At first we would offer a sticker as a reward if she did a wee in the potty, and nursery were doing the same so that was good to have the consistency across both places.
We had a few accidents that first week, and poos were an issue until one day she did one on the toilet and that was that, she’s not had a poo accident since (we’re about two/three months into the process now I think! I have totally lost track of time). We do still have some wee accidents, mostly when she is totally engrossed in whatever she is doing, but they are few and far between.
After a couple of weeks, she stopped using the potty and wanted to use the toilet instead, which although it’s a bit of a faff as we don’t have a loo downstairs, is fine! Most of the time now she asks when she needs to go, rather than us having to constantly ask every five minutes!
She’s still in pull ups overnight (although when she’s awake in the evening or morning she asks for the toilet even if she’s in pull ups). Everything I’ve read suggests night-time dryness depends on the release of a hormone so we will wait until her nappy is consistently dry in the morning before we even attempt to get rid of the pull ups altogether. Again, I really don’t feel like there’s any rush!
Most of the time, you refine things you’ve done for the second time round, but I have to say I will probably do the same process for Max when the time comes. I think he may be earlier to train than Alexandra as he is already starting to tell us when he’s done or is about to do a poo, something she never did until way past her third birthday. But I will totally let him take the lead and go for it when he’s ready, as it wasn’t nearly as stressful as I thought it was going to be!
Harriet, Alexandra and Max x