With the future Littlebit in mind and not wanting to be too much of a sharent I have decided not to blog about “The Potty Diaries” as I had previously planned. I wouldn’t want her future friends reading about her trials and tribulations in potty land, not that there have been many.
But I did want to share some hints and tips for potty training your toddler, as shared with me, by many.
The key is to wait until they are absolutely ready. Don’t be pushed into it because of their age, their peers, their Grandparents pointing out that you were potty trained by the age of 2, well meaning people constantly suggesting that THEY think your little one is ready. YOU will know and you alone.
Littlebit showed signs of readiness well over a year ago, but not all of them.
The general signs of readiness are:
- has a desire for independence.
- enjoys praise and shows a want to please attitude.
- has regular poos at relatively predictable times, and doesn’t poo during the night.
- has dry periods of least one or two hours, or wakes up with a dry nappy after a nap.
- can pull her pants up and down with only a little help.
- shows an interest when you go to the bathroom.
- may tell you before she wees / poos in her nappy.
For the last few months people kept on asking when we were going to train her but I just didn’t think she was ready. As I began to think she was possibly almost there I set a date of this half term holiday and we aimed towards that. Last week we took a trip to the library and got lots of books about using the potty and wearing pants and read them every night. We moved the potty, which we’ve had for around a year but not used, just talked about and put teddies on, from the bathroom to her bedroom and started talking about being a “big girl” and ditching the nappies for knickers instead.
I aimed to start properly on Tuesday this week, once all the bank holiday madness was out of the way, and when we were a week into talking lots about the potty. However, Littlebit decided she didn’t want to wait and went for it on Friday last week. This meant a change to some of our weekend plans so we could stay at home and close to the potty, but no matter. We had a wonderful time anyway.
So, my top tips:
1. go bottom-less for the first few days – just a t-shirt /jumper and nothing else and crank the heating up if it’s cold. That way you don’t have anything in the way when they feel the need to go.
2. have lots of kitchen roll and anti bac wipes on standby for accidents.
3. get some of those flushable toilet wet wipes and leave near to the potty for them to wipe themselves when they’ve been.
4. don’t make a big deal out of accidents. We had 3 on day 1 and 4 on day 2 but none since. We just made a comment about forgetting to ask for the potty, or forgetting to use it, cleaned the mess up and moved on.
5. have lots of fun activities to do around the house and garden so you don’t have to stray too far from the potty the first few days. We were lucky that the first few days were glorious so we were able to play outside a lot. We did a huge amount of water play, talking about getting wet and how it feels when your bottom is wet. I’m sure this helped.
6. on day 3 we moved from bottom-less to skirts for a couple of days. This acted as something she had to remember to move but not as cumbersome as knickers and trousers.
7. day 4 we moved on to knickers under a skirt.
8. day 5 we moved to the whole sher-bang, knickers AND trousers. By this point Littlebit knew what she needed to do and gave herself enough time to get sorted.
9. we didn’t venture out until day 6 and then we stayed local with just a short trip to the library with Beadzoid and Babyzoid and took a travel potty with us.
10. day 7 Littlebit we went out in the car with her Granny on a longer journey for the first time. I made sure she’d literally JUST been before we set off and she was offered the potty immediately when she arrived at our destination 25 minutes later too.
- consistency – once you’ve made the move from nappies to pants there’s no going back. As far as I’m concerned that just acts to confuse your toddler. Littlebit only wears a nappy (which we make sure not to call a nappy, they’re “sleepy pants”) at night now.
- use incentives – we used “well done” stickers as I don’t personally believe in rewarding with sweets / chocolate.
- pick a week when you can stay at home (i.e. summer holidays / half term) and aim to stay in for at least the first 3/4 days. We actually stayed in for the first 5 days. Plan lots of activities to do indoors in case the weather isn’t great.
- involve the family where you can – because we started on a bank holiday weekend Littlebit’s Daddy was home for 3 days. Littlebit thrived on both of our attention, Daddy didn’t feel like he missed out on yet another milestone and we’ve all bonded even more through this process.
- let your child pick their pants. We bought Littlebit’s Rosie and Winnie the Pooh pants a while ago but she picked the ones she wanted.
- invest in a good travel potty – we bought this one My Carry Potty and it’s been brilliant.
- wait, wait, wait! If they’re not ready it’s more than likely it won’t work.
Littlebit was dry in 2 days using these methods. I’m not suggesting it will be the same for you and your toddler and we may yet have a set back. But give it a go!