Do you wonder IF and WHEN your child will ever leave their nappy days behind them? I did too, in fact, I found the process of potty training, all a bit overwhelming. I mean, where do you even start?
Get Prepared- Mentally!
To get me in to the right frame of mind, to tackle what can be a challenge. I read Gina Fords’ book for tips and picked out the most relevant information that would work for my daughter and soon, for my son. I made a plan- I decided to TRY and potty train my daughter in the summer holidays, when she would be 2 years 7 months old. Three months before officially starting, I did the following:
- Talk to her about her nappy changes. Does she understand wee and poo.
- Let my daughter see me using the toilet and explain what I was doing.
- Let her flush the toilet and wash her hands in the ‘big girls sink’.
- Left a potty in the bathroom and gently encouraged her to sit on it and explained to her what it was for.
- Started to change her nappy in the bathroom, so that she learns that’s the place to go to the loo.
- Changed her nappies to nappy pants, so she becomes familiar with pulling pants down and up.
- Started to read Princess Polly’s Potty book to her. My daughter enjoyed it and got her interested. It goes through everything- who wears nappies and who doesn’t, choosing your potty, what comes out and what to do, no need to be embarrassed. I have just bought Pirate Pete’s Potty, in readiness for my son 🙂
This was all done in a very relaxed manner, often she would just say ‘no’ to me and show very little interest. So, I would leave it a few days and try again. Slowly she started to use the potty and even managed to do a wee in it- she was surprised by it, but I gave her a lot of praise.
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Signs that your Child is Ready
Every child is different, so, looking for signs that your toddler is ready is key to successful potty training. Key signs for me were:
- Hiding to wee or poo
- Telling me she had done a poo
- Having a dry nappy for longer periods of time
- waking up from her nap dry
- Having regular bowel movements
Get Prepared- Physically!
Once my daughter showed signs of readiness, a little bit of shopping was needed. Here is my personal checklist of what I bought and highly recommend:
- A potty
- Flushable wipes. These are a must as you cannot flush nappy wipes down the toilet. My daughter finds them easy to use, they are a handy size and there is no worry that they will waste your toilet roll.
- Princess Polly’s Potty/Pirate Pete’s Potty Book
- Toilet Training Seat– I have two and bought several for nieces and nephews as it fits most standard size toilets. It is designed with non slip feet, it is sturdy but lightweight, portable and practical. As well as made from wipe clean, hygienic plastic.
- Footstool– I recommend the double step stool rather than the single as it easier for your child to climb on to the toilet as well as wash their hands.
- Pants (Let your child pick them, so they take more care to not get them wet/dirty).
- Nappy Pants
- Download the FREE iPhone App ‘Poo goes to Pooland’. Click here for more information.
- Waterproof cotton mattress protector I prefer the washable flat sheet as opposed to the disposable ones, simple because they are cost effective. I have used these for my children, since birth- so, definitely getting my money’s worth. I have put one down underneath my daughters’ bedsheet, now that she is nappy free at night too.
- Nightlight. I have had this nightlight since my daughter was born, to help with night feedings/nappy changes. Now it is used to help my daughter get to her potty, in her room, if she ever needs to go. To stop any spillages getting on to the carpet, I also bought disposable bed mats that are actually incontinence pads, to put underneath the potty. They soak up any spillages, leaving your carpet nice and dry. They are also cheaper than other toddler-centred brands.
Once my daughter and I were both mentally and physically prepared, the actual potty training process was quite easy. I put her in to her ‘big girl pants’ after breakfast, once she had done a poo.
She was taken to the toilet every 20 minutes and was quite happy to sit straight on the toilet training seat. I did not introduce any rewards or use the phone as a distraction. I wanted her to learn that it’s something that just needs to do and does not warrant a treat.
She took to doing a wee really well, but had a poo accident and was upset by it. I remained calm and simply cleaned her up and explained that she needs to do a poo in the toilet now. I came across the mobile App; Poo goes to Pooland‘ and I showed it to her. She immediately understood that she needs to use the toilet.
The following day, we went out to the local park and she was confident enough to ask me that she needed a wee. Over the next few days, I asked her every 30 minutes, then 45 minutes and by the end of the week, I stopped asking her altogether, as she telling me herself. Honestly, that was it! I feel all that mental preparation, really helped her (and me!).
Naps and Night Sleep
I had read that toddlers tend to potty train in the day first and then at some point, being dry at nights follows. It’s linked to their hormones, so every child will do this when their little bodies are ready. My daughter was still having a nap in the day, so I would simply, put her in a nappy pant before she went down and the same before bed.
By the time, she was 2 years 9 months, her nappies were dry after her nap and sometimes, after a full nights sleep. She eventually started to stay dry for consecutive nights and then started to wake in the night, wanting to go for a wee and refused to do it in her nappy.
At that point, out went the nappies and she went to bed in pants and we haven’t looked back. She did need some help with getting out of bed and using the potty in the night, but that was another issue, that was solved with the nightlight.
Children learn by watching and copying. So, I am hoping that my son will quickly follow in his sisters footsteps. She is now fully toilet-trained; day and night, since the age of 2 years 10 months.
‘Believe you can and you’re halfway there’- Theodore Roosevelt
Now it’s your turn- Happy to hear how you get on with your little ones. Please leave a comment and share your tips.