Ah Potty training…an age old topic with parents, how and when to toilet train your children.
I had few preconceived ideas about toilet training before having children.
In fact, I don’t think I had even changed a nappy on a real child before having Little Miss, let alone thought about how to get them out of it. All I knew for sure was that I HATE, detest, loath poo! (I feel compelled to wear rubber gloves near it and wash my hand a thousand times over. I have been known to bleach my hands after getting some poo on it.)
Despite my loathing I was also very determined to use washable nappies. Strange you may say, but I had seen a picture of the pile of nappies that an average child goes through and was so horrified that it was enough make my conscience dwarf my poo hate. (Here are some images to bring it home.)
Coupled with the dread of full nappies, I have always been a relatively observant parent, therefore as a combination of record keeping and watching out for the signs I knew when my babies were going to empty their bowels. I never left them in their soiled nappy for more than a couple of moments. I would drop everything to get them out of their dirty nappy very quickly. I have to admit, this was relatively easy as Little Miss was a regular once (max twice) a day baby and Little Man was once or twice a week baby till he went onto solids, so there weren’t too many nappies to deal with.
When Little Miss was about 6 months old I read about parents who did not have a nappy on their child at all from birth. A method called Elimination communication. WOW! I thought. I wished I’d heard of this method before. Reading a bit more about it, I then decided to try my own blended flavour of early potty training:
At 8 months, when my little girl could sit on her own, I popped her on a potty as she woke up (which, coincidentally, was the time she usually did the stinkies) and voilà! The poo came. She got a huge praise. I hardly had to wipe a bottom; no soiled nappies to deal with; no nappy rash; it was win all around.
Thus started our early potty training journey.
We made it part of her routine, waking up in the morning or from her afternoon nap, she’d sit on her potty, we’d ask her to do a poo and a pee, read books and play with her in the meantime, then praise her for the results. It was fun for us all. There was no pressure, she could get up if she wanted. After a while I popped her on the potty 45-60 mins after meals too. It was a relatively natural process.
I realise that the “disadvantage” of my method is that we’ve had to pay attention to the cues much more. (Not necessarily a bad thing.) We could not sleep in either, as one of us, mostly Oh-so-darling-Daddy, would have to get up as soon as we heard a peep from the baby’s room. No baby gurgling away and entertaining herself while we waited till human o’clock to get her! 🙂
Following this method, Little Miss was pretty much dry by 14 months but still in nappies. Had we not started a house extension I would’ve taken the nappy off her at this point. In the end she was 20 months old when we took the nappy off her (this was 2 months after her brother was born, Christmas and New year family invasions were over and we’d returned to “normality” following the house extension.)
The transition was a week. She was completely dry days and nights from then on.
Once potty trained, my next challenge was to get her onto the toilet and not have to empty and clean a potty. This I think was helped by two things- firstly, we found a 2-in-1 adult-child combination toilet seat. This is sturdy and clean and gives children confidence as there is no wobble and has small opening, so they do not feel they can fall in. Secondly, the potty was needed by little brother, so Little Miss became the big girl & went onto the big toilet with little seat. She had a step from IKEA that she could pull up to the toilet herself.
With Little Man I got braver, I started him on the potty at 6 months, which was roughly when he started pooing daily. Since then we have had only a handful of soiled nappies and one pair of soiled pants only.
The wetting is another story completely- we took off his nappies (for the daytime) just after he turned two. After all he had been weeing (not exclusively) and pooing on the toilet for 18 months by then. After an initial spate of accidents, for about 5 months it went really well. However, now we are back to anywhere between 0-6 changes of underwear and trousers a day. We been to the doctors’, we’ve looked at the environment and can’t find any reason for the relapse.
But, you know what? I don’t mind the wetness as much, with the poos going down the pan, I can cope with the wet pants! I have only had a handful of soiled nappies from my babies since one was 8 months old, the other 6 months old. That’s the win for me.
He’ll get there, I just need reminding him more often…
How have you tackled toilet training?