Potty training

I am starting to think about potting training again. I can tell that Fidget is getting ready to make this big boy step…and I want to help make it a smooth adjustment for him.

I got lucky with Wriggler – he showed signs from about two years old, but actually neither of us were really ready to tackle it. Plus, I was pregnant and had heard so many horror stories of regression when the new baby comes that I couldn’t bear the thought of my sensitive child going through any additional stress. So, aside from buying some pants and encouraging using the potty before bathtime, really doing anything about it took a back seat until Fidget arrived.

I had been thinking spring would be a good time to start…Wriggler decided the day after Boxing Day was when he wanted to start. So, with a six week old Fidget, and three days planned on being at home, we took the plunge.

My experience with Wriggler was:

Day one: I let him wear pants and nothing else on the bottom and asked every 10/15 minutes if he wanted to go on the potty, which was in the room with us. He had one accident, misjudging if he needed it or not. He got a chocolate button every time he tried to go.

Day two: He wore trousers over his pants and I asked him every 30 minutes if he needed to go, and again one accident as he struggled to get his trousers off in time.

Day three: Trousers and pants again and asking him every hour. He got a chocolate button for actually going and a sticker for trying.

Number 2’s took a little longer, he would wait for his nappy at bedtime and go then…and then he waited five days refusing completely to go…then he was actually so desperate he did it on the potty no problem and that was that!

I am hoping to try the same thing on Fidget, as Wriggler was done in those three days..lets see how that goes when he really is ready!

My top tips are:

  1. Timing is everything – you need time, space and a clear schedule to allow your child to adjust
  2. What if they don’t get it or what if you aren’t ready? Then either don’t try or give it a few days and if they are still having several accidents a day just go back to nappies and try again in a few weeks. I know pull-ups are an option and they certainly work for some, but I didn’t want confusion between pants and nappies so we didn’t use them in the day once we started training
  3. If your child is ready them encourage them with a chart and talking to them about what is going to happen from now on
  4. Praise every time – a little happy dance, clapping and singing a song to let them know that are doing a great job will build their confidence
  5. Little rewards in the first few days (a sweetie for trying, them for being successful, then for a whole day) – little rewards along the way help reassure them they are doing great
  6. Big rewards for one month – let them choose a prize that they get after a couple of weeks or a month of doing their thing 
  7. Sticker chart so they can  see their progress – this is great in the first few days when they might try the potty but not go because they are still learning their body’s signals – it reassures them that they are making progress
  8. Choose their new underwear – Paw Patrol or Gruffalo – whatever they choose it helps them feel more like this is their decision and they are in control of what is happening – great for their confidence
  9. Talk about it positively – this is hard when they have an accident, but accidents happen so don’t make a big deal of it and reassure them that they are still doing great
  10. Read books  – we used Pirate Pete – the cheering sound was great after every attempt that Wriggler made

Number 2’s do generally take longer because it is a scary experience and sensation that needs to be adjusted to, but once they get it then usually it is plain sailing.

And night-time training is another thing entirely. Some children completely steer this themselves, but others (especially boys) can take longer for two main reasons:

  1. either the hormone that is released to reduce the amount of wee made while asleep (compared to when they are awake) can be delayed in being triggered (which is no medical concern until the child is much older)
  2. or the child is such a deep sleeper that nothing will rouse them

Lifting and things like that are now discouraged by medical groups as it teaches a learned behaviour rather than actually helping stop bed-wetting or night-time wees. If you need any help with this specific problem or you have any worries, then ERIC is a really useful resource.

If you need any more tips check out the NHS’s guide and good luck mumma’s who are going to be tackling this soon and if you have any other tips please share them!

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