Last week a friend of mine (yes you tinboxtraveller) and I were discussing potty training. I was very honest and told her it was the single hardest thing I have ever done as a mother (thus far…). I am sure this was not what she wanted to hear as she is about to embark on the delightful journey but I am not one for sugar coating things.
We have theories about three day or five day potty training rammed down our throats so I expected it to be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong! In my eyes the three or five day potty training is a load of crap! My LO did it in her own sweet time…about three (long) months from removal of the nappies to her not coming home from nursery with a bag full of wee soaked pants!
So I thought I would put what I have learnt about potty training down to hopefully help others who like me failed at the ‘speedy’ potty training we so often hear about.
A – Aaaaarrrggghh! This is truly how I felt through the entire potty training experience and I am sure my LO felt the same. It was a complete uphill struggle with the odd glimmer of hope and several setbacks.
B – Botty wipes. Buy lots and make sure they are flushable. You really need something wet to remove the smeared on poo and you don’t want to block your loo with regular baby wipes. Especially when little one attempts to flush the entire pack in one go!
C – Cloths. Have cloths that are just for cleaning up the little accidents and different from your regular dish cloths…!
D – Doggy training pads. Cheaper than drynight bed pads and do the same job! We used them in her bed, folded up in the buggy and the car seat.
E – Embarrassment. Now I seemed to build up an immunity to embarrassment but often the people I was with did not share that. My boyfriend during the ‘poo on the slide’ incident (coming up later!) and my best friend was horrified that the travel potty came into play even on the street during a shopping trip. Yes people are going to be looking at you but some of them have been there and know exactly what you are going through. I remember hearing people waking past us as LO was sat on the travel potty in the park saying “Ah I remember those days!”.
F – Fashion. This goes out of the window as you only dress your LO in clothes that can easily be pulled down and up for when you are rushing to the loo… We were lucky that it was summer when we were training so LO was always in dresses. Didn’t stop her from just hitching up her dress and weeing through her knickers (did this in the middle of a packed Southampton Common before running off to play again!)
G – Gross! It is totally gross! You will never see so much wee and poo – and have to clean it up!
H – Humour. At times I had to laugh or I am sure I would have cried. I don’t consider myself a control freak (others might disagree) but you have no control over this, it is all down to your LO and I think my LO knew it!
I – Instincts. Trust yours to know when your LO is ready. I started training against my instincts as nursery suggested it was a good time for them (they were training a group of toddlers all together). It might have been the right time for them but it was not the right time for us.
J – Jarmies. Forget cute onesies that are all over the shops. Potty training calls for the classic two piece with easy pull down/up bottoms. We learnt this one morning when we couldn’t get the buttons of an all in one undone quick enough…
K – Knickers. Buy lots of cheap knickers (Primark, Peacocks, Asda). If like me you are willing to sacrifice the ‘soiled’ pants instead of scraping them out and washing them then you will lose at least a pair a day. (Nursery were also instructed to do this – do not hide a nappy bag with a poo and a pair of pants in the nursery bag for me to find a few days later!)
L – Loo roll. You will find that you are using double the loo roll you were using before and you will never again find it neatly on the loo roll holder. LO can’t just use one sheet for her tiny wee she must use a freakin’ mile of it! And must unroll another mile or two in the process which she will then try to roll back up again – maybe stopping half way to wipe her nose on it!
M – Mess. There was always mess… Piles of wet clothes to be washed, bags of spare clothes for outings, bags of wipes/travel potty etc needed for leaving the house laying around….so much stuff needed!
N – Naughty. Now the general rule is that they are not being naughty when they have accidents but I am pretty sure that sometimes she did it on purpose. She would sit for ten minutes on the potty, stand up, wee on the floor, smile and walk away… Maybe she was doing it for a reaction and I am sure all the books would suggest I just ignore it but we spent a lot of time on the naughty step!
O – Opinions. Everyone has an opinion (including me on this blog) on how you should potty train, reward charts, stickers, type of potty etc etc etc. I think you have to do what works for you and your child. They are all different and all need different incentives, rewards, encouragement etc.
P – Praise. Now when the magical moment came when she did wee or poo in the correct place then we pulled out the ‘whooping’, clapping and generally acting like she had just done the most amazing thing in the world – and to me she had!
Q – Queues. Avoid anywhere with queues! We went to Peppa Pig world during potty training and had to pull out the travel potty in the queues – to the surprise of some parents but also to the delight of others (it was lent to strangers in the queue). Also anywhere that might have a queue for the toilet when she mutters “I need a wee” the second before it is about to trickle out. We were generally lucky with people taking pity on us and letting us jump the queue but not always (Notably the mean lady in the toilets in Ikea! Said no to letting me jump in front and then complained when I pulled out the travel potty – apparently I was in the way of the sink when she wanted to wash her hands).
R – Running. I am now forever running to find a loo the second LO says “I need a wee”. When out shopping she is often whisked into the nearest McDonalds for what the Mister would call a ‘McWee’.
S – Slides. Not a tip but a cautionary tale here. Don’t take a child to the park when potty training. Having your child poo at the top of the slide, sit in it and smear it all the way down the slide on their way down is not fun! *yep it really happened – sorry to all those children and parents at Moor Valley Country Park on that day!*
T – Travel potty. I truly could not have managed without it. It went everywhere with us and was one of the most used pieces of baby equipment purchased. My sister always said “Just take the normal potty out” but what do you do with the full potty afterwards?! The travel potty keeps it in a little absorbent bag until you can find a suitable place to dispose of it.
U – Urine. There is nothing quite like opening a sealed nappy bag that has been home to a wet pair of pants for the day. We used to get a few of these ‘treats’ home from nursery each day – stinky!
V – Vax. Buy one or borrow one to go over your carpets once you reach the end of potty training. End of.
W – Wiping. For the next year or so you will be ‘Chief bottom wiper’ to your LO and often hear “Can you wipe my bottom!” being yelled from the bathroom.
X – Xpectations. Yeah, yeah I know it doesn’t really begin with X but it was the best I could do… Manage your expectations from the beginning. If you LO is one of those mythical child that get it in five days then great but if not then at least you were prepared for it!
Y – Yellow stains. Don’t be alarmed by surprise yellow pools of water underfoot!
Z – Zoflora. Find a ‘flavour’ that smells least like old ladies and make a big spray bottle full. This will become your best friend as you follow behind your LO spraying and wiping like a mad woman.
Now this is just my experience and I am sure other have bags of other tips to get through potty training plus I am sure there are lots of people with a much easier experience of this time. The good thing is that WE DID IT! LO is now completely nappy free day and night, and we only have few accidents (touch wood…).