I apologise in advance for the use of the terms potty training / toilet training. I know children aren’t dogs and can’t be trained however I am using this term basically to represent YOUR KID DOING A BLOODY PISS ON THE TOILET*. OK? Right, glad we have cleared that up.
*not an actual bloody piss. If your child does a bloody piss seek medical advice urgently.
I’m writing this post all about the two words no parent wants to hear. TOILET TRAINING.
My youngest who is nearly 3 has just made the transition from nappies to toilet and I’m excited to say I’ll never have to toilet train another human being again.
With my eldest, I remember so vividly when he turned two and lots of people ask “are you potty training yet?” I used to feel so confused about this. Potty training? WHAT?! But most mums will agree your first child feels very GROWN UP at every age so at 2 and a couple of months I was like right, this very grown up child now needs to use the toilet! Fast forward and almost a year later I was still battling with him to use a toilet, ending in frustration on both his and my part, lots of tears (mine) and hours spent clearing up all the wee and poo. Joyous. He was eventually using the potty/toilet at about 3 and 2 months. So I had almost a year of trying to get him to use the toilet when he wasn’t ready. I was far too influenced by comments of others and lots of external companies and people basically saying that age 2 is when you toilet train.
With my second, she sort of just copied her brother and whipped off her nappy to use the toilet at about 2 and a bit. I actually tried to keep the nappies on her a bit longer because we went abroad to get married when she was 2 and 5 months and I thought it’d be easier for her to be in nappies on holiday! She was using the toilet off her own accord at about 2 and a half.
When my youngest hit 2, I was like HELL NO WAY am I toilet training this kid til he shows some serious signs of being ready and wanting to do it.
He is now 3 next month and this past week has been nappy free! It’s been up and down but generally he has done great and I really do think it’s because I haven’t at any point forced the matter on him, he has led the way and he seems ready – I can’t believe looking back I battled for so long with my eldest, it was such a hard time and I really wish I’d avoided it all. So I’m writing this in hope to save at least one person from having the same wasteful battle that I did.
Here are my potty / toilet training tips. Obviously I am not an expert or professional and these are my personal tips and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice! Which I’m sure no sane person would do given the nature of this blog and that I am pretty clueless. 🙂
- Wait. Don’t think at a certain age your child is now ready because they have hit that age. Be it 1, 2 or 3. Wait til he or she gives clear signs they are ready and actually, pretty much take off their nappy themselves to use the potty or toilet.
- Wait some more. Seriously, wait. Why the rush? I actually felt comfort that whilst some people are rushing off because little Billy has just wet his pants in the Poundland queue, I smugly stand my ground with my large 2.5 year old who has just curled out a beautiful turd in his nappy which can happily wait to be changed til I’ve paid for my basket of cheap items. Even if the stench offends everyone’s nostrils for the next half an hour. WIN!
- My kid literally started whipping off his own nappy and using our toilet. We are lucky to have a toilet just off our living area so we didn’t have to get a potty and have the whole potty-introduction stuff to do this time round. If you do have to do this, buy one and just leave it around, maybe explain to the kid you sit on it for wee’s and poo’s but don’t force the matter. My eldest used to do a wee and then promptly stick the potty on his head as a hat. Piss shower anyone?
- If you have access to a toilet near your main living area then use that, not a potty. Because some kids use a potty and then are very SCARED OF THE BIG TOILET. So you get them using a potty and then have to basically teach them to use the toilet. If you can skip the potty just makes it easier. If not then power to you. Potty’s rock. Ew.
- Boys – sit or stand? I remember with my eldest being really confused at how I taught him to wee. Turns out he started by sitting and then stood when he got better at it. My youngest however loves to stand on his little step and wee into the toilet. Take the kids lead and don’t push it either way. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is the golden stuff ends up in the toilet.
- Girls – awkward sprayage. I’m a child of ’86 and I can’t be the only one who remembers their mum holding you over a drain or a bush to do an emergency wee? Literally held under your legs in an air-squat whilst trying to aim your wee and avoid it spraying everywhere. I do remember doing this with my daughter in a forest, but basically girls wee can’t be aimed so the sprayage is inevitable. Boys have the benefit of penis here.
- This stage in your kid’s life basically entails you to clean up bodily functions a lot of times. It’s easier if you expect this. Don’t fight it, just keep lots of antibacterial spray or wipes around and always check the loo before letting Auntie Vera use the toilet. (This continues into boyhood by the way – piss on seat is forever going to be something you have to deal with. JOY!)
- Have lots of jogger type easy to pull down trousers – or shorts if it’s summer. Summer is an ideal but don’t let the fact that it’s summer make you try to do it if they’re not ready. Skip pants and knickers because they’re a waste of time, and also another layer to get down. Be prepared for lots of outfit changes – including socks sometimes too. Forget tights for girls.
- If they aren’t already, your kid will be nakey from the waist down when at home. If visitors seem bothered by this, don’t let them in.
- Dark trousers don’t show up leaks as much as light ones. Be clever about this people!
- Get used to the smell of urine (Duh).
- Be prepared to be weed and pooed on again. Bit like having a newborn but worse, coz this kids faecal matter smells like he’s just eaten a curry and had 6 pints.
- You haven’t got enough pairs of trousers have you? Did you not read point 8? I said LOTS. 4 pairs won’t cut it. Go and buy triple the amount you think you’ll need. Well done.
- Stock up on toilet paper. You will be using a LOT. But rejoice to know you’re making a saving on nappies.
- Ask ‘do you need a wee?’ every 5 minutes for the foreseeable future. This may drag on a bit like the newborn stage when you feel like they are newborn for years but actually when you’re out of the stage you look back fondly. It will end, but not yet. Keep asking. Ask some more. Soon they’ll force out a wee just to shut you up.
- So your kid seems OK with weeing on a toilet. Good! Poo’s are often another issue entirely. My youngest is scared of pooing out of a nappy so he holds it and gets mildly constipated and then I have to sit with him and help him poo which is always a pleasure. Feels a bit like watching your child give birth. Beautiful family bonding. Don’t fret too much if your kid doesn’t want to be poo-compliant. It’s another issue man.
- Find out the location of the toilet everywhere you need to go. Get the kid to use the toilet before leaving anywhere. Be prepared to spend a big chunk of your life in toilets, washing hands and placing soiled trousers into washing machine. Also hiding behind bushes, trees, lamp posts, people, walls. Lurk near drains. Choose play date venues based on toilet convenience and cleanliness.
- Have a potty in the car or under the pram for emergencies. Or an empty water bottle if you are super cool like me (and have a boy. Don’t try and get your daughter to wee into a bottle. This will not end well)
- Muttering expletives is fine. Don’t let them hear if poss. If they do just pretend you said “Ducks love using the toilet darling!”
- It’s OK to feel sad about this time. Your baby is growing up. As much as nappy changing wasn’t ever quite as a nice as a spa day, I weirdly miss it.
- Offer to change all your friends babies nappies at every opportunity. It’s such a novelty.
- Do an evil laugh every time your child successfully pees into something other than their clothes. It’s OK to feel proud. YOU ARE HELPING YOUR CHILD EXPEL BODILY FLUIDS INTO VESSELS. You bloody rock.
If you have any training tips for the parents out there who just can’t be arsed, feel free to share.