Potty Training! We gave it another go, and she’s doing SOOOOOOOOO well. Go Gibby! This is it now me thinks – nappies no more at all in the day time. The last vestiges of my baby being a, well . . . baby, are slowly slipping away and in their place stands a confident, happy little girl in Peppa Pig knickers.
We had a stab at potty training over Christmas and after two successful days, she randomly decided that potty’s were evil, and that hell should be raised when we attempted to place her anywhere near one. It was very odd. She did brilliantly for 48 hours, then we had a hellish night of her waking up pretty much hourly, screaming “IN MA POTTY! IN MA POTTY!” We’d try and put her on it, but this would be met with a kicking frenzy and a gut wrenching “NOOOOOOOOO!” We just couldn’t understand what was going on. No-one had seemed to come across this problem of such a dramatic about-turn, and the many MANY books and websites weren’t really a help either. (By the way – what on EARTH is with the massive hurry all these so-called experts seem to be in when it comes to potty training? “Potty train in a week/day/nano second GO GO GO RUSH RUSH RUSH WEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, DAMN YOU LITTLE ONES!)
But I digress: after that bizarre night, we had battles to get her anywhere near a potty OR nappies OR knickers. Things had gone badly wrong and I still can’t figure out why. The fact we praised her SO much when she successfully had a wee or poo on the potty probably backfired a little. (Short of letting off party poppers and doing a conga, we really did go OTT when she pooed.) So, after a few more days persevering, we decided she was obviously not as ready as we thought and made the decision to go back to nappies. Thing is, she got really upset when she soiled them, crying her heart out every time she pooed. Awful, confusing and upsetting for all of us.
I was upset and deflated– I’d convinced myself she was ready and despite the success of those first two days, she wasn’t. I’d been determined to get it right but ended up terrified I’d given her “issues” which was the one thing I was desperate to avoid.
Some time has now passed now, and something in my brain told me it was time to give it another try. It was unplanned, but has worked like a dream so far. ***Grabs everything in arms reach made of wood***
One morning when we had the good weather a week or two ago (***sigh – remember?***) I spontaneously put her in knickers. At first she protested, but with some immediate distraction and the promise of a box of raisins, she soon forgot she was wearing them. I put the potty out, told her that wee wees and poos go in the potty and to tell Mummy if she needed one. She had an accident almost immediately. The second time she needed a wee, she did tell me but didn’t make it quite in time – getting better. For the rest of the day it was a direct hit every time. Yey!
Day two brought a few different obstacles. A trip to the park and meeting up with friends meant lot of distractions for her and a couple more accidents. Also, the novelty of knickers had worn off a bit, but with a few understanding Mummy friends on board, I encouraged her to show them off and she was very chuffed with the “whit woos” and “What a big girl”‘s she got in response. This further encouraged her to lift her dress at every opportunity “LOOK! Grace’s knick-knicks!” and I must thank the following people for their encouraging reaction to my mini-flasher:
- The Elderly lady and her daughter shopping in Tesco.
- The next door neighbours whilst we were getting into the car.
- The lady and gentleman in the hotel restaurant table next to ours last Saturday night.
***Memo to me – DISCOURAGE the showing off of knickers during teenage years!***
All in all, giving Grace the extra time she needed has paid massive dividends. She has had no accidents since the third day and only about 5 in total. She is confident and happy about using her potty. She is proud of herself which is lovely to see.
Each parent must find their own path in the ways of potty training, but for those who may find it of interest, the following would be my Top Tips for when you feel you may want to give it a whirl. They are not golden rules and they will not be for everyone, but they may be useful to someone:
- Don’t start because all their friends are starting. Don’t start because a book/website/relative tells you too. Start when you get a gut feeling they’re ready.
- First time around (when it all went wrong) we used pull-ups for car trips or outings. I ditched this as I felt it was confusing for her and I wouldn’t do it again. Knickers or nothing! Keep things clear.
- Buy some disposable mattress protectors – not for the bed oddly enough (we’re still in nappies for night-time) but for sofas/ booster seats etc. We also use one to protect the car seat – just snip a hole in it for the belt buckle.
- I got a Potette. Best purchase EVER! It not only folds flat but the liners mean you can instantly bag anything up and it’s good to go again. Much better in my opinion than the much larger portable ones that snap shut sealing the contents in – what if you need it more than once before you get a chance to empty? Stinky poo. Also it’s often easier to find a bin to dispose of the waste instead of a loo to tip the contents into. With the Potette, you don’t even really need the proper liners – we’ve improvised with carrier bags and tissue many a time, (and no – they haven’t asked me to review by the way, I paid cold hard cash and honestly think it’s ace.)
- Keep an emergency bag of stuff in your car – change of clothes, a spare mattress cover for the car seat, a pack of wipes.
- Personally, we didn’t do charts/stickers/rewards. We did a great big “WELL DONE GRACE!” and a high five. (A double high 5 for a poo.) Praise and high 5’s can be given anywhere, anytime, and you’ll never run out or misplace them. (Far as I’m concerned, there’s enough stuff to cart around with you when you have a potty-training-toddler, so I certainly couldn’t be bothered with adding stickers to the list. )
- Many Mums I know stayed at home for the first few days of potty training, and for alot of them – this worked a treat. I’m not a home-bird and I knew this would drive both me and Grace nuts. Weigh up your own stress-omiter. I knew that potentially a few more accidents if we were out and about would for me be much less stressful that staying in all day. Perhaps don’t plan any mountainous expeditions, but be well prepared and short trips out are easily do-able.
- First time round, we made too big a thing of the reassurance when she had an accident. desperate to avoid her having issues, I’d cuddle her and tell her it’s “Ok. Doesn’t matter.” In hindsight, all we were doing was showing Grace that if she weed herself, she got love, cuddles and kind words. Hmmm – mixed messages me thinks. Now if she has an accident, we certainly don’t tell her off, but just try to let her know that it’s not what’s meant to happen. “Woops! Oh dear. Wee wee’s go in the potty Grace, not the floor. Try again.” And we sit her on it – regardless of whether she has another wee or not. This approach has worked a gazzilion times better.
- Try your very best to be relaxed about it all. Do you know ANY adults that still use a potty? (excluding kinky stuff, thank you.) No, me neither, so it WILL happen. And PLEASE, don’t beat yourself up if you try it and they’re not ready. Go back to nappies rather than cause your little one distress. It’s not Mastermind: “I’ve started so I’ll finish” isn’t always the best policy.