Potty Training – First hand experience, signs to look for and the highs and lows of this final frontier to becoming big kids.
These two words can send cold shivers down the spine of the most seasoned parents. It can be difficult, messy and upsetting. Similarly, it can also very quickly become a competition in a group of seemingly normal adults.
So when is the right time to start potty training?
Speaking from experience you most definitely have to wait until your child is ready. At 30 months I felt the peer pressure of my son not being potty trained. While his younger friends were and had been for a while. As a result of this pressure, I tried unsuccessfully on two separate occasions. I worried did he have some sort of developmental delay. Honestly, it was very stressful for both of us as my little boy was just not ready.
It is best to wait until they are giving you signs. These can be things like they are aware that they are going to the toilet or they want their nappy changed straight away. It could even be that they show interest when you go to the toilet. The NHS website will give you more details of what to look out for.
Where to start with potty training?
So once your little one is showing signs that they are ready, you need to choose a method that is right for both of you. My advice is to do your research and decide on one that suits you. There are several different methods from the take them to the toilet every 15 minutes (just not realistic for most parents), the Three day Method to Potty training in a day. Then you need to have all your supplies ready such as potty, pants/knickers (a silly amount), cleaning supplies (lots of them) and a huge bucket load of patience and time.
You have to take the plunge, decide today is the day to start potty training and stop using nappies during the day time. You can not go back and forth between pants and nappies during the day as this can become very confusing for your little ones.
The next step is to accept that there will be mess, accidents and probably tears (mostly yours) along the way. But remember that this is a huge step for your little one. This is one of the last frontiers they need to conquer before finally being crowned a ‘big kid’.
We used a method loosely based on a combination of everything I had read on the internet. He wore his own clothes but started with no pants on. I watched him like a hawk for any tell that he needed to go. His signal was to stand very still and hold himself, so when he did we rushed to the potty. Sometimes we were successful other times we were not. Day 1 of potty training was exhausting and messy but by day 2 to 3 he got it with no accidents. Two weeks on we have only had one accident. We have been on days out and shopping trips without any problems. Although, I am always well prepared with spare clothes and potty in tow.
Success or failure
So what do you count as a success in the potty training minefield? well if any pee or poo actually makes it to the potty- that is a huge win! Do a potty dance, shout hooray on top of your voice, whatever you do to celebrate.
Not every day will be a success and there will be days where accidents happen. Don’t worry this happens to all children when they are first learning and practicing their new ‘big kid’ skill.
My pre-parent self never thought that she would worry so much about another persons wee and poo as much as I do now. This is one of the lows of parenting, where you realize there are no boundaries as to what you will talk about with another adult and even complete stranger. Yet the joy on their face when they realise they can do it themselves is worth every mess, tear, and frustration that you will ever feel. Remember this is just the beginning…..