When are they ready?
Your child is ready when they tell you they’ve done a poo in their nappy and are keen for you to change it.
When they are quite physically able – they can walk, run well, as well as walk up and down stairs.
When they are using alternate legs to walk up stairs.
When they are showing signs of interest in their potty.
When they can tell you if they’ve done a wee.
When they enjoy nappy off time and manage not to have an accident.
When they go 2 hours without wetting their nappy.
When they are asking to wear pants.
When they can follow simple instructions.
When are you ready?
When you can take a bit of time off work to concentrate on it.
When you haven’t got something majorly stressful going on, i.e. a big family event on the horizon, working towards a promotion or another baby due imminently.
And one for all of you – don’t do it when there are going to be any big changes happening, like they’re about to start a new nursery or you’re about to move house.
What you will need?
Lots of changes of clothes.
Changes of shoes that you don’t mind putting in the washing quite a few times.
Lots of knickers, which you will buy with her.
A potty, which you will buy with her.
Lots of socks.
A portable potty.
A seat with a ladder that goes on your toilet, which J named Ladder Toilet.
Stickers – some for rewards, some for decorating the potty.
A thick skin and a ready apology for all those times she will pee or poo on the floor of friends’ homes.
How we did it
Let her come in the loo with you while you go. You may have noticed that she’s started pooing in her nappy while hidden behind the sofa. This is because she thinks that it’s a private event. While this is true, it is an idea that you can instill in her later on when she’s a bit bigger. For now, it’s baby steps; you just want her to poo in a potty rather than her nappy. So let her see what’s going on. It might not be the most comfortable poo you’re going to have – with a toddler staring at you – but it will help her to get the idea.
I chose our particular time because I had a week off work coming up and so was going to be at home for a few days, before staying with friends for a long weekend. Then, when we stayed with the friends, they helped me out by making a massive fuss of J every time she went on the potty. We all did a lot of whooping and applauding over that weekend, like we were in the audience of an American chat show.
So when you think she’s ready, decide on a week and go for it!
How to start
Try and make the event exciting for you guys. First of all, take her out to buy the potty and knickers. Let her choose. Even if you think her choices are tacky and rubbish, let her get them, as she needs to feel excited about wearing the pants. Even if you aren’t, you have to pretend. After all, you can be the chief pant chooser in future. We bought a small seat that goes on the loo with a ladder up to it. J liked this because she enjoys climbing. Even if she doesn’t use it straight away, she will at some point later on, so it won’t be wasted.
Talk about it in a happy way and explain how exciting it is. “Wow, you’re such a big girl. You’re going to be like mummy, wearing knickers and doing poos on the toilet!” Etc, etc.
Get home and turn the heating up and have her naked from the waist down. You can then get the potty out and explain to her if she needs to wee wee or a poo, she should do it on the potty. Then get the stickers out and decorate the potty together and say lots of things like, “Look at your potty, isn’t it lovely!”
If she starts doing a pee on the floor, quickly take her to the potty – which you should keep near her at all times – and plonk her on it. Hopefully, she will get some wee in the potty. At this point, you should look more thrilled than you have ever been before. Tell her: “You weed in the potty!!” and dance and clap like a lunatic. She will look chuffed to bits and think, I’m going to try and do this again.
After you’ve got excited beyond belief about this, you can now introduce stickers. Kids love stickers, don’t they? Tell her: “Well done, you did a wee in the potty, here’s your sticker for being so good!”
We also waved hello to the pee pees and poos, before waving goodbye to them when we put them down the toilet. I don’t know how much this helped, but we did it and J seemed to like it.
They can find it hard to sit still to do a poo as they get bored, so it may be a good idea to let them look at a book or play a game on their lap, so that they will stay there for long enough and be sufficiently relaxed to do a poo.
If you need to pop out, take the potty with you and then do the same while you are out (but put some clothes on her!). I have actually whipped her pants down on a road next to a hedge before and put her on the potty. She didn’t care less; I was quite embarrassed but felt I did a sterling job hiding it.
Also, remember that people are very understanding about potty training. It’s not easy and so they will get why, for example, your daughter has just peed on the floor and be very decent about it. You should also bring lots of changes of clothes with you. Then, if she wets herself while out, you can say: “Oh well, never mind! It’s OK!” in an upbeat way, before explaining: “Next time let mummy know and we’ll do it on the potty.” Make sure that you continue with this upbeat tone, even though inside you are really thinking, F%#€! Where am I going to s*&%ing change her? But remind yourself that it’s not forever and soon you won’t be changing nappies – yay!
Never scold your child for accidents, this will only make them resist potty training and they will just start to hold it in and cry when they inevitably have an accident. Give positive reinforcement all the way!!
We continued having her naked from the waist down at home for a couple of weeks, as I feel it really cements their understanding of when they are about to have a wee or a poo.
What to do while they are sleeping
We kept J in a nappy at night and will continue to do so until she always wakes up with a dry nappy. She has been waking up after her nap with her nappy dry, which we praise her for massively. She has occasionally lasted a whole night, so we’re getting there, but there’s no rush.
You will continue with the cycle of whooping when it goes right while mentally banging your head against the wall – all the time looking chipper on the outside – for a few weeks. There will be times where you think, she’s not getting it. Maybe I’ve started too early, maybe we’ll be doing this forever? Then, you’ll get to the stage where you think she’s gone 5 days and hasn’t had a single accident, and the accidents will get fewer and further apart, and you’ll think, oh my, I think it’s clicked.
When you get to the stage where you are thinking, she’s finally got the hang of it, you should be extremely bloody pleased with yourself and your little one because you’ve just potty trained your child. That’s no mean feat, so congratulations. I think that deserves the popping of a cork!
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