On Potty Training

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just a little bit cute

My 5½ year old was just coming up to two when I fell pregnant with her sister, and one of the things I was hellbent on doing was potty training well before the new baby came along. For reasons I now find absurd, I got it into my head that changing two sets of nappies would be horrendous, and I was adamant that I would have her out of them shortly after her second birthday. Looking back I also put pressure on myself because the people I was spending the most time with then had potty trained early.

We had two failed attempts – one the week after her birthday in July, where she peed and pood over the floor eight times in five hours and did absolutely nothing whatsoever on the loo or potty. Needless to say I cut my losses there and then, and decided to have another crack a few months later. Second time around was during a week in September that hubby and I had both taken off work – an ideal opportunity – but our strong willed girl had other ideas. No amount of bribery was going to coerce her into doing anything she didn’t want to do! At that point I put the potty and training seat away and decided to have another attempt when I went on maternity leave after the Christmas. Then out of no-where in the October she asked to use the potty, and from that day onwards (aged 2y3m) she wore knickers. She ‘got it’ quite quickly, had the odd accident here and there but was mainly dry after the first couple of weeks. Unfortunately (and rather ironically) when her sister came along a few months later she massively regressed. She would pee herself three or four times a day and I thought it would have been easier to have kept her in nappies. 

Second time around, determined to not make the same mistakes again, I wanted the potty training experience to be more child led. I was naively hoping that our almost three year old would just wake up one day and announce she was a big girl and wanted to wear knickers. That did not happen, and the odd occasions that she roamed around without a nappy on resulted in a puddle on the floor. Wanting her trained before starting pre-school next month I decided to just take the nappies away last week. Here’s how we got on.

Day One
I cleaned up a LOT of wee from the floor. The toddler was so anti-knickers she wasn’t having a bar of it, I think I put six pairs in the wash and two in the bin. Just after lunchtime I was completely exasperated and put her back in a nappy. I announced to hubby that I was ‘really worried in case there was a problem’, and he laughed. His response calmed me down ‘she isn’t even three yet, she’s trying to stake her place in the world in the only way she knows how: by peeing on the floor’.  

Day Two
I kept her in a nappy because she had a full scale meltdown when I tried to put her in knickers.

Day Three
This was a work/nanny day and when I asked if she wanted to wear knickers she said she did. So I put her in them. It was a mixed bag, with a couple of successes and a couple of accidents, but a great improvement from where we were on day one! 

Day Four
Another work/nanny day. She did a few wees with her training seat on the toilet in the morning, and I had a text from the nanny at midday saying she had used the loo and not had any accidents. I thought woo hoo we’re getting somewhere now. Then when she came home a few hours later she wasn’t wearing anything on her bottom half, because she’d had four accidents, including a poo. I became seriously disheartened but knew we had to keep going, if we put her back into nappies it would have confused the hell out of her. 

Day Five
She had been going to the loo all morning without any fuss, then around midday I smelt a smell. Checked baby’s bottom and it wasn’t him. Checked toddler’s pants and it was her. Cue clean up operation, and giving her a shower which she absolutely hates (don’t know why, but she has never liked the shower). We learned a big lesson at that point, and decided we’d take her to the toilet every hour whether she said she wanted to go or not. 

Day Six
Huge success, not a single accident. Ditto Day Seven

For what it’s worth I have two pieces of advice for people approaching potty training. Do not use pull ups, it’s too confusing for them. Every kid I know that has been put into pull ups takes longer to train than the kids that haven’t. Also, when you choose your day to start potty training, providing you are sure your child is ready, stick to your guns and don’t turn back. Even if you spend a week cleaning up accidents it’ll be over in a flash. I really should have persevered on Day One and not put her back into a nappy, but I’m glad I stayed strong on Days Three, Four and Five. 

Now, a week and a half in, things are going really well. Do I wish we’d have taken the nappies away sooner? No, not really, because it might have taken longer for her to ‘get it’. Or she may have regressed anyway just like her sister did. I think at 2y11m we pitched it perfectly. 

I’m glad that box has been ticked! Two kids down, one to go, but fortunately not for a while yet! 

 WotW *my word this week is POTTY! 

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36 Comments

  1. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:53 pm

    Love the idea of getting the eldest to potty train the youngest, totally genius! Let me know how you get on Maddy xxx

  2. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    I hear potty parties can be hufely successful – i guess there’s safety in numbers and kids like to copy eachother 🙂 x

  3. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    I’m so pleased to hear that my dear, i’m sure you’ll breeze it with H. Just hold out until you know for sure that he’s ready xxx

  4. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:40 pm

    Ha! It really was!! Thanks for stopping by x

  5. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:39 pm

    I think potty training is another of those parenting milestones that the phrase ‘they all get there in the end’ very much applies to. In ten years time who will really care if their kid was two or three when it happened? xx

  6. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:37 pm

    I think it’s really common. My hubby floated the idea of training our toddler over xmas ’13 when she was just under two and I was heavily pregnant, but there was absolutely no way I was putting us all through that xx

  7. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:36 pm

    So pleased you got there without too much drama too lovely x

  8. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:35 pm

    Nice to hear a level view hon. A relaxed child led approach is defo the most stress free way to potty train in my books. Best of luck when the time comes xx

  9. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:31 pm

    I’ve always wondered about those pads, might get some for night times xx

  10. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:31 pm

    Hurrah for learning the lesson hey! I guess it was good to mess up first time around as it made things easier next time xx

  11. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 6:29 pm

    Sorry to hear that Ting! How annoying that they insist on pull ups. Is there no way you can just push for him to wear pants and make sure he has three or four spare outfits just in case? Personally I think pull ups are confusing for them. Really hope things improve soon lovely xx

  12. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 12:49 pm

    That’s the absolute best attitude to have as far as i’m concerned. Forcing kids into potty training before they are ready just leads to tears all round. I’m sure a toddler-led approach with Arthur will see quicker results. Stay strong and don’t crumble under the peer pressure!! Best of luck for when the time comes xx

  13. January 19, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    The issue of potty training is very much on our radar at the moment – now Arthur’s turned two there are various people who are convinced we should be getting on with it, and there are a few of his friends who are beginning the journey… I have to say though that I’m inclined to be led a bit more by him – we’ve been baby-led for most things so far so it only seems logical that this should be the same! We do have a potty in the main bathroom, and he’s vaguely interested in it. I’m just hoping that interest will grow over the coming months, though I’m not looking forward to the mess when we do decide to take the plunge 🙂 xx

  14. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 11:24 am

    Thanks Kim, so far so good x

  15. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 11:22 am

    Oh my word five months??!! I’m pleased to say that it’s now been well over a week since we’ve had an accident! Yay 🙂 best of luck to you second time around lovely xx

  16. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 11:21 am

    Haha i’ve definitely blocked some of my first experience out! So far so good second time around x

  17. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 9:39 am

    I definitely think three is the magic number, they’re just so much more likely to get it quickly and not regress… well I’m hoping so anyway, we’re only weeks in 😉

  18. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 9:38 am

    Potty training is the one thing guaranteed to send even the calmest sanest parents to the brink of madness! Bet you’re pleased it’s over…

  19. mummytries
    Author
    January 19, 2015 / 9:32 am

    I put pull ups and follow on milk in the same bracket tbh, ways of squeezing as much money out of the baby days as the big companies can get away with x

  20. January 18, 2015 / 6:39 pm

    So glad it’s going well. I think it does help when you’ve already done it once. Yes, totally agree to not use pull ups, I think they are a terrible idea x

  21. January 17, 2015 / 11:18 am

    I was adamant to start potty training my son before. I tried but I don’t know who is not ready him or me. Then one time I just know that it is time and we just did it fast! I did use pull ups and looking back maybe its one of the reasons why our first tries didn’t work. #wotw

  22. January 16, 2015 / 11:34 pm

    Oh yes, the joys of potty training.
    We’ve taken the laid back approach 🙂 ours were 3.
    It’s an odd one in terms of a milestone and another parent pressure.
    But the sense of achievement (for you and them)- amazing!

  23. January 16, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    I don’t remember much about the potty training stage with my two, maybe it was so traumatic I have blocked it out!
    It sounds like you are doing really well, I agree you just have to stick to your guns a bit and just go for it, obviously when you think your child is ready. Hope you continue with more incident free days x

  24. January 16, 2015 / 9:52 pm

    Oh dear lord, potty training nearly put a permanent rift between my mother and I, who are normally unbelievably close. The short story (you’ll be relieved at that), was she put loads of pressure on me to potty-train my elder son. He was sitting on the bloody pot from 5 months (emphasis on sitting and not s*itting!). I didn’t have any expectations, I would just occasionally half-heartedly try him out on it, with little production. Anyway, he went on to develop a MASSIVE toilet phobia. Wouldn’t sit on a potty without screaming in terror. He was barely 2. So I left it. My mother thought I was making the wrong decision, because she potty-trained us early. And about 4 months before his 3rd birthday, we tried him without nappies, and he miraculously started using the potty. And we’ve had little trouble since. He has occasional accidents, but for the most part, we didn’t have to do a thing.

    Our little one is learning by example, but I’m sure as hell not gonna be putting him through the terror of potty-training that we did with my elder son. I honestly believe they do it when they are ready. If you try early, you may just get there at the same, time. But what is the point when they can transition to toilets so easily when they lead?

    Ok, so that wasn’t a short story at all. Sorry! xx

  25. January 16, 2015 / 7:09 pm

    Ahh that’s fantastic! It sounds like she is really getting the hang of it! Potty training is so hard but you’ve offered some great advice x

  26. January 16, 2015 / 3:40 pm

    I’ve been having a tough time with potty training! Monkey’s nursery insist he still has to wear pull ups which I think it hampering him. He gets it and some days is brilliant, but he’s just particularly lazy – going for a wee is boring compared to playing! And I find boys don’t care if they are wet? Girls however hate it. Glad to hear you’ve managed to crack it in pretty much a week! Phew! Another one under the belt 🙂 xx

  27. January 16, 2015 / 1:27 pm

    Potty training can be so difficult. I made mistakes the first time round too, but I think I learnt by them and got it right for my twins. Well done for getting through it x

  28. January 16, 2015 / 1:25 pm

    I used pull ups with the twins and they were not a success. They thought they still had a nappy on. However I did use Dry Like Me pads which were great. Well done x #WotW

  29. January 16, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    Well done to her (and you!)! This is on my agenda for Little Man this year, though not just yet. I’m in no rush, to be honest, he’s 2y4m, and younger than Boo was when I trained her, so I feel we’ve loads of time! Totally agree with those two key pieces of advice, too. Thanks for sharing with #WotW x

  30. January 16, 2015 / 9:39 am

    Well done to your little girl! The same happened to little T when she was around that age too. It’s like she just suddenly decided that she’s going to take the whole “potty business” seriously. And she did! 😉 #wotw.

  31. January 16, 2015 / 9:27 am

    Oh goodness me it sounds like you certainly had your work cut out for you there. I know what you mean about them regressing my eldest who was fully potty trained at 18 months and dry throughout the night strated to regress as I neared the end of my pregnancy with her younger sister, thankfully by the time I had her sister she had stopped her little accidents. I have seen and heard of children regressing when another baby comes onto the scene.xx

  32. January 16, 2015 / 9:10 am

    I used pull ups with my eldest and it seemed to help-she just appeared to ‘get it’ when she was about 2.5. However, I also used them with my son (making that ridiculous error that it had worked with his sister….) It didn’t help at all needless to say! He eventually went dry at 3.5 and it happened within the space of a couple of weeks, but I did wonder at one point whether we’d ever get there.
    Well done you and well done your little girl 🙂

  33. January 16, 2015 / 8:37 am

    Sounds like your washing machine has been on over drive.
    Not having children yet we are yet to go through this but I like reading for future tips!
    I’m glad it is now going so successfully.
    Sx

  34. January 16, 2015 / 8:37 am

    When I move to PT I am on mission potty train and dummy weaning. I’ll be honest, the thought of potty training has been scaring me but this is the first post about it that has really put my mind at ease. So thank you xx

  35. January 15, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Oh this takes me back! I potty trained Mushroom at 2 and a half – he was ready before me (I wrote about it at the time: http://motheringmushroom.co.uk/parenting/mushrooms-potty-about-pants-a-potty-training-diary/)! We did use pull-ups at first but that was more of an ‘introduction to’ than potty training proper and he had started to attempt to use the toilet anyway. Copying his friend really helped! Glad it went well and is over for now! x

  36. January 15, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    Ah the joys of potty training! It sounds like your daughter is doing really well though and that you did pick the right time for her.
    My eldest trained in five days the week before he turned two (I was thrilled and probably rather smug especially to all the naysayers who had told me ‘boys always train late’!). My second son was 2 1/2 and a lot more tricky – he kept getting it then regressing. I found it so frustrating! My third will be two next month and I’m toying with the idea of potty-training him then. My eldest is quite keen to teach him so maybe I’ll just sit back and relax and let him do it? Haha. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt as a mum of three (in this area and in all others) is they’re all so different so what works a treat for one child might be totally wrong for another. You never know till you’ve tried though. Hope things continue to go well for you – sounds like you’re doing great! xxx

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