Guest Oracle: Toilet Training
One of my favourite bloggers, Kate Takes 5, has started a new feature called Ask the Oracle.
This is an opportunity for parents to ask questions and get answers from other parents – not experts, just people who have some experience with the same issue, who can share their tips and tricks for how they dealt with it.
One of the first questions that Kate received is on the subject of toilet training – something we’ve dealt with recently in this house. So I’ve volunteered to be a guest oracle and share my experiences on the subject, and hopefully some of our experiences will be helpful to someone else.
Ask the Oracle
Marta from Lost and Forgotten: Oh I love this idea Kate. Okay my dilemma is potty training. My not yet two year old is really into doing everything like her big brother and mommy and daddy which means going on the potty. We put the potty out in the bathroom and she likes to sit on it while we’re on the big one. And even will try to pull down her pants/diaper. She also like to have a piece of toilet paper and pretend to wipe. She’s into it. Except I don’t know to translate pretending to the real thing! Help!
It’s been a few months now since Little Man day-trained, and if someone asks me how long it took, I usually say a week or two. But the truth is that we started the potty training process months earlier. When Little Man was about eighteen months old, we introduced a potty. Months passed, and sometimes he played with it, and other times he didn’t, but it was never really used for its intended purpose. We didn’t mind – we weren’t in any rush. In his own time, Little Man gradually started to use the potty properly, usually before a bath. We still didn’t push it – partly because we felt that when he successfully used the potty, it was by accident rather than on purpose, but mainly because of laziness! Everything I had heard about potty training led me to believe it would be a stressful, messy process, so I wasn’t that keen to start it if we didn’t need to.
So we let him be, using the potty when he wanted to, and ignoring it when he wasn’t interested. And that “accidental parenting” turned out to be exactly the right decision for us. In his own time, Little Man began asking to use the potty more and more, and so one weekend we decided to just follow his lead and begin potty training properly. I know that on parenting websites everywhere, you can find lists of “signs of readiness”. When I read those lists, I think I was expecting that Little Man would be showing every sign on the list before we should start potty training. But he wasn’t showing any indication of two of the major ones – awareness of the need to use the toilet, and ability to pull up and down his own pants. Still though, he was showing interest, and his communication skills had come along so much that he was able to tell us if he was wet or dry, so we decided to remove the nappies and give it two weeks to see what happened.
Once we decided to give potty training a proper try, we introduced a reward chart, and explained to Little Man that he would get a new magnet to put on the chart every time he used the potty. I couldn’t believe how quickly Little Man trained after that. Within a couple of days, we were almost accident-free, and after two weeks, day-training was done.
So based on our experiences, my advice is that if your little girl seems interested, just pick a weekend, or a week, that suits you, take the nappy off, and see how she gets on. For a few days before you start, consider reading a potty training book like Pirate Pete’s Potty. (There’s a Princess Polly’s Potty version too for anyone who isn’t quite as enamoured with pirates as Little Man!)
And then just see how you get on. For the first couple of days, we asked Little Man every twenty minutes or so if he needed to use the potty. By the end of the weekend, he was starting to recognise the signs himself.
Your little girl is so young Marta that you aren’t really under pressure to train her. And for us at least, that made things easier. Give it a try, and if it works it works, and if not, put back on the nappies after a few days, and try again in a few months time instead.
The beauty of Kate’s Ask the Oracle feature is that it recognises that none of us are experts. We can only relate our own experiences, but through sharing those experiences, we might be able to help someone else figure out what works for their family or their child. Have you got a potty-training story, or tips or tricks to share? If so, please link to your blog post, or tell us all about it in the comments below. And be sure to follow Kate Takes 5 to read other Ask the Oracle features.