So, potty training, for a while, completely defeated us. I have previously written about our struggles and how nothing we tried seemed to work. Then one Friday morning after another 3 dry days at nursery, little miss got up and said she wanted to do a wee. She went into the bathroom, let me get her seat out, climbed onto the loo and did a wee. I actually thought I was going to burst with pride. Her little face was a picture.
That was nearly 12 weeks ago and she’s been dry ever since. She completely missed out the potty and went straight to the loo. I can’t begin to tell you the relief we all felt when whatever it was in her mind clicked. We thought once she got it, she would have it sussed quite quickly. It was still a surprise just how quickly she was dry after that first wee on the loo at home.
Looking back, I should have been more alert to how our daughter learns new things. Rather than jumping straight in and trying things when she’s not ready, she waits until she’s totally got her head round it then doesn’t look back. She was almost ready to crawl for quite a few weeks. Then one day she did it and was speed crawling almost straight away.
It was a similar pattern with walking. She was pulling herself up on the settee at around 12 months and was standing unaided not long after that. Walking holding on to the furniture wasn’t really her thing but she’d do it holding our hands. Again, she was almost there for quite a few weeks before the big day when she was about 15 months. Just like with crawling, once she was away, there was no stopping her. She was walking, skipping, running, dancing and trying to jump within about a week.
I kept telling other people that she took her time to learn new things until she was completely sure about them, but I don’t think I was actually listening to myself when I said it. If I had I would have been more relaxed about the whole potty training thing. That’s probably the most annoying thing about it. Everyone tells you to relax and it will happen when they’re ready. That is so much easier said than done.
All kids develop differently
I did get caught up in worrying she was very late to still be in nappies at 3 and a bit. One comment from someone at work asking me if I was stupid for not having our daughter potty trained when she was 2, will live with me forever. The simple answer is, every single child is different. Yes, broadly speaking they will develop at about the same rate and do certain things at about a certain age. But if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world.
When she’s earned her first million and bought her parents the Huf Haus we’ve always dreamed of, we won’t be thinking, “if only she had been potty trained at 2”. In the grand scheme of things, doing things a bit later really doesn’t matter. It won’t affect her future that she was 3 and a bit when she sussed potty training. Similarly, it doesn’t mean that a child who is potty trained at under 2 will be more successful in life.
On the outside, I think we did quite a good job of staying calm with little miss. We tried to focus as much as possible on praising the smallest success even though we just wanted to scream a lot of the time. Screaming into a glass of wine (or 2) when she went to bed helped.
We had pretty much every potty in every design, but she just didn’t associate that with doing a wee. She loved Princess Polly but she just wouldn’t wee on a potty.
Success at last
There wasn’t a secret formula to her success. She just did it when she’s worked it out for herself. I think because our loo wasn’t exactly the same as the one at nursery, for a while she didn’t think they did the same thing so didn’t know where to do a wee at home. Once the penny dropped that our loo was the same as nursery’s, it was just bigger, there was no looking back.
She struggled a little bit with poos for a couple of weeks after she had the wee thing sorted, but we really weren’t worried about that. A friend recommended downloading the Poo goes home to Pooland app and she totally got it. All she needed was a few weeks to build her confidence to do a poo in the loo. I can highly recommend watching the Pooland app if you need cheering up. It’s hilarious!
Again, once she’d done a poo on the loo, she didn’t look back. Now we aren’t allowed in the room with her when she poos and she calls us when she’s ready for her bum to be wiped. Our only real problem is working out how to stop giving her Smarties after every poo! We said she could have chocolate if she did a poo in the loo (would have worked with me no problem!) so now she wants some each time.
Some of the things we tried
When we were having problems, we tried a lot of different advice from people. I think in some way, all of the things we tried did help little miss work things out for herself. Here are some of the things we tried, in no particular order.
- Putting all changing things into the bathroom.
- Taking her to the toilet with us when we went.
- A fun potty training book which is interactive like Princess Polly’s Potty.
- Rewards. It doesn’t work for all kids but it worked a treat for little miss when she was nearly there.
- Sticker chart. Little miss even put stickers on the loo for us when we did a wee! Still makes me chuckle when she says clever girl to daddy.
- Talking to family / friends.
- Toilet training steps and seat. We got this Keter one which she still uses now.
- A family toilet seat. We have this one in the downstairs loo. It helps remove the fear of falling into the loo but isn’t as bulky as a training seat.
- Lots of liquid.
- Keep calm, make it fun and praise as much as possible.
- A good amount of fibre to make sure they don’t get constipated. The doctor prescribed medication to make her stools looser but in the end we decided not to use it. We upped her fruit and veg a bit instead and she was fine.
- Using pull up nappies which they can get on and off themselves.
- Try giving your child a bottle of bubbles to play with when they sit in the potty. The action of blowing not only helps them relax, but pushes down on the bladder which helps them wee.
The most important piece of advice really is don’t panic. We were worried sick when little miss was holding onto her wee for literally hours. She was extremely distressed by it but nothing we did would make her go to the loo at home. This seems to be quite common in kids who are potty training.
Our health visitor said it could mean she stretched her bladder which panicked us. The doctor, however, said there was no risk of her doing any damage. Basically, a bladder will only hold so much. Once it’s full it’s full and there’s only 1 way out. If she’d been doing it for months rather than weeks, it may have been a concern. As it is, she’s fine. She seems to have a big bladder and still holds onto quite a lot of liquid before she goes.
So keep calm, keep it fun and it will happen. But only when they’re ready.