I have potty trained two toddlers (one very recently), and believe me I am no expert in this field. In fact I sometimes think should I have done it differently? Been more pro-active and done it earlier? Or did I leave it late because a nappy is more convenient. So this post is about my various musings of potty training toddlers.
With my first we thought we were being pro-active. We introduced the potty early on and Isla used to sit on it all the time from 18 months onwards. As a result we had opportunistic wee in the potty, at which we were thrilled! James used to WhatsApp me photos if I was at work of the evidence and we thought we were ahead of the game. We weren’t.
The few days we decided to try without a nappy were a complete disaster. I did the normal, asking her every 5 minutes if she needed ‘potty’ to which the reply was always no. Sure enough, the minute I took my eye off the ball to make a cuppa or try and tidy up, I was greeted with ‘mummy!’ and a wet Isla with a puddle in various places. At the time I was also looking after a 3 month old so the nappy went back on, and stayed on.
I felt some pressure from my mummy friends. They all had toddlers a few months older but seemed to have cracked the potty much earlier than us. Yes they didn’t have a baby to contend with as well, but in truth I used this as an excuse. I used excuses along the lines of ‘she wasn’t ready’ and ‘she’s not showing signs’, but if she had of been, i’m not sure I would have persude it. We moved into my parents for a while during our house renovations, again another excuse for the delay in potty training, and if i’m honest I was happy with the convenience of the nappy.
We moved back into our house when she was nearly 35 months old, and I felt the pressure. So we just went for it. I had a week off work so decided not to go anywhere and just give it a go. To her credit after 2 days of constant cleaning up pee, she seemed to get it pretty quickly. Then of course I felt smug, and vowed with Oliver I would try him earlier.
Being the second and due to pressures of work and house renovations, we just never introduced the potty early enough. It wasn’t on my radar, and it was definitely easier just keeping him in nappies.
However the pressure kept rising. I saw no signs of him wanting to use the potty, in fact he screamed when I sat him on one. A bad experience of falling into the toilet meant he wouldn’t go any where near that either, so I left him in nappies.
Christmas and various other excses of being too busy meant I kept him in nappies. I think the turning point was when we went out to the local pub NYE with our neighbours in the afternoon. They had a son who had just turned 2, completey toilet trained. I felt embarrassed that my son, who was 3 in 4 months time was not only still in nappies but seemed to have no concept of when he needed to go.
So, I decided, despite the ‘no signs’, new year was the start. Oliver was left bottomless and we’d see what happended. I had time off work so I had run out of excuses. The first few days were hell, I was constantly cleaning up piddle from floor and sofa and don’t get me started on the washing! But I stuck with it and by day 4 he was taking him self to the potty. However if he had pants or trousers on then there seems to be no connection.
Our first ‘outing’ without a nappy on was also my first trip out from the house without a change bag full of nappies for 4 years! I did however have a bag full of spare clothes. This day happened to be Isla’s birthday party. I was nervous to say the least, but soon got involved in party prep and forgot about it. To my relief it was the first time Oliver toke himself to the potty without asking and pulled down his trousers! It was a mini victory and I was so thrilled! Less thrilled however that in him doing so his little mister was pointing upwards and a waterfall of urine managed to soak him from head to foot creating quite a scene, and an upset little Oliver. It’s definitely more of a challenge for little boys to master the correct sitting position!
My point is this, there is no right time, sometimes toddlers can guide you and give you signs, other times you have just got to go with your gut. So what if your using a nappy for convenience, ultimately you need to do it when you are ready, when you are in a position to cope with all the ups and downs, puddles and washing!