This week we decided it was time to start potty training. I braced myself for a stressful week. I have heard a lot of negative talk around potty training and I was worried about the effect it would have on my mental health. This week, my husband has been home too so I decided we could do it as a team. But, weirdly, it hasn’t been even remotely stressful. Here’s what I have learned so far:
This post contains affiliate links. If you want to know what affiliate links are and why I am adding them to my site, you can read it here in this post.
Don’t rush it …
The most stressful part of potting training was not potty training – holding off starting while every toddler Boo knows waved farewell to nappies.
We had a very stressful day a couple of months ago where I gave into parental pressure and tried training Boo. She was really distressed every time she wet herself and didn’t sleep because she was so worried about wetting the bed (she was wearing a nappy but the day had really thrown her for a loop). After this, I decided that we would put a lot more work into preparing Boo and hold off on actual potty training until she was really ready.
- We started emptying nappies into the toilet months ago and explaining poo goes in the toilet. We talked about Mummy and Daddy doing wees in the toilet too and said that one day she would do that.
- We had potties around the house.
- We played games putting her teddies on the potting.
- She got a dolly that can drink and wee. We talked about what makes us wee and what it feels like.
- We read books. This became a regular thing and using the potty became part of our daily conversation.
- We said ‘oh you are having a poo’ if we noticed and asked her if she had a wee too.
- We let her sit on the potty with clothes on or clothes off whenever she wanted.
- We went shopping just for knickers and let her choose some with her favourite characters on. These Paw Patrol pants were a big hit. I strongly recommend getting some fun pants. However, I also recommend getting some standard ones that cost a bit less as you will need a lot of pairs on hand!
This kinda stuff has been going on for a couple of months since our first failed attempt. I have asked her a few times if she wants to wear knickers and do her wees on the potty. She has always said a very firm NO. So I trusted and respected that no. She just wasn’t ready. As much as I wanted to say to other parents that she was potty trained, I held off.
Potty Pep Talk
The last 2 weeks she has been saying that she wanted to use the potty and wear knickers. Then deciding she didn’t. I took this as her cue that she was ready but nervous. So before we started I spent some time having a chat with her. She may only be 2.5, but I strongly believe children have more understanding and emotions than we give them credit for. I told her that it was OK to be nervous because often new things make us feel that way. I also told her that she would have accidents and that was totally OK. She wouldn’t have accidents forever and it was just part of learning. We had big cuddles, I told her I loved her and she is wonderful and that we would start the next day.
In the morning, I reminded her that we were going to wear knickers. I told her that nappies were now just for when she was sleeping. I reminded her that she would have accidents and that was just part of learning something new.
I put her on the potty every 30 minutes to an hour. We got through about 5 pairs of underwear in the morning. I suggested just knickers and no trousers but she was happier in clothes so we also got through 5 pairs of leggings! We did not have a wee in the potty. Then in the afternoon, she did 1 wee in the potty and she was ELATED! After this she managed 3 more goes on the potty and one accident. It was quite hilarious – we were eating dinner and started hearing a dripping sound … she just looked at us and smiled and said “Uh oh, I did a wee. Never mind! It’s just a little accident!”. I was so pleased to hear her be so positive about it – such a massive change from when we tried a couple of months ago. We had meant to use a sticker chart and I opened Amazon Prime to order these stickers while we were having dinner, but the little accident meant I forgot. She has been OK without them but I am sure they would have been an extra help.
We asked if she needed the potty every 30 minutes to an hour. If she hadn’t gone, we put her on the potty every hour. She had no accidents. Every wee was done in the potty. Handily, for the second day in a row, she had done a Poo as soon as she had woken up so we didn’t have to deal with that yet.
We stopped asking. I told her I wouldn’t ask or remind her. She ended up going every couple of hours with no accidents … apart from a poo. She did not like that. But we just reminded her that accidents happen when you try something new and it’s just part of learning. She was smiling before long and had no other accidents.
These 3 days were at home. Day 4 was the big test. We were going out. We talked to Boo about what would happen – we would take the potty and we would try to go every place we went so that she wouldn’t have to wait a long time if she suddenly needed the loo. After 3 pairs of knickers and leggings, we had a chat. Things were not quite working so we needed to be flexible. We were going on a long car journey and then to a busy aquarium. We told her that she had done a great job but as it would be so busy she could have a nappy over her knickers while we were out today. We wanted her to have fun but didn’t want to revert back to nappies totally. This worked as a good compromise. She told us when she needed a wee and was actually able to use the toilet. She wasn’t stressed and neither were we. I have a shorter trip planned for this weekend so we will try again out of the house. The next step for her is remembering to go on the potty even when she is really excited.
I am also going to buy this carry potty. It was recommended by a friend and having having seen it, I know that it will help Boo with the next phase of potting training. A portable potty for outside the house. This potty seals so it can contain its contents and has a handle to be easily carried. I am sure this will help her in those moments that we can’t make it to the toilet.
What worked for us
There are 3 things that I think have helped make this stress free
We talked about this for a good couple of months. We talk about it now. Thank talk about the next stages. And M and I talk so we have the same plan.
Do not rush into it. Do not panic if the first day goes completely wrong. Just take your time.
If it’s not working: stop. If you need nappies for out of the house: do it. You know your child best so come up with a plan that works for them and don’t be scared to change it.
As for poos. They will come last. Maybe that bit will be the part that stresses me out? Maybe? I’ll let you know …
If you want to use any of the products we have used to make potty training stress free, you can click on any of the images, or use the links in the box below. Thanks again for supporting my blog and using my affiliate links!