I’m no parenting guru by a long shot and generally have no clue what I’m doing, but one thing I know is that potty training is all about when your child is ready. It’s not because you think it’s time, or because your friend thinks so or because so and so down the street who is 6 months younger is potty trained. Every child is different and the best time to do it is when your child is ready.
With Monkey we tried at 2 1/2 but he was in no way ready. After about 13 accidents the first morning we gave up. At age 3 we tried again and it was instantaneous. He got it and it basically took no work at all.
I’ve had a feeling that LM was ready for a few weeks. She’s been telling me when she’s done poos and even when she’s done a wee and needs a change. She’s also been going for a while with a dry nappy. Then last week we had our first ever wee wee in the potty. So with half term approaching I thought it was a good time to make a start. A time when we don’t have school runs to worry about and could just focus on it properly. The amazing weather really helped too as we were able to spend a the first two days in the garden, with her running around in the nude.
We aren’t using any specific method, or product or gimmicks. We are just heaping on the praise and positivity and helping her learn about her body and learn to recognise the feeling. I personally think having nothing on for the first day or so really helps as they are more aware of their body that way. Seems to be working with LM anyway but again every kid is different!
I’m not going to go into the details of every wee and poo, for her sake, but she has done so well. We’ve obviously had accidents and a couple of puddles inside but there hasn’t been many in the grand scheme of things and less over the few days we have been doing it. She is showing great control and does a wee on the potty when we tell her too, so before bath, before we go out, and that kind of thing, which is really good. We went to the shops yesterday and had no accidents so took that as being very positive for day 3!
With Monkey he basically used the toilet straight away but LM is all about the potty and she’s not translating it to the toilet yet. I don’t know how to do that really but I assume we will figure it out and she will get there so I’m not worried.
We still have a way to go, and no doubt there will be more accidents to come, I am under no illusions about that, but she’s doing so well so far. I’m really proud of this girl of mine, she really is growing up!
My word of the week this week is relentless. It hasn’t been entirely bad but in truth it has been pretty hard.
LM’s naps are all messed up and she seems to only wnt one nap a day (at nearly 10 mths old) so I have had to get used to having at least 1 child with me at all times. Plus she is now crawling, climbing, pulling up and standing alone constantly. Which means I need eyes in the back of my head and a lot of falling over too. No break for mummy to blog, get jobs done, relax at all – relentless.
We have been busy every evening this week, Monday we had friends round which was lovely, Tuesday I took some old baby bits round to my friend with a 2 mth old and again it was lovely to see her. Weds Hubs had a work night out and then Thurs was meant to be our first eve this week relaxing together – but LM had other ideas. Since she was just a couple of mths old she has always gone to sleep really easily in the evning, even when she has been poorly it hasn’t taken much to get her to sleep. Last night took hours. Nothing worked, she was so tired but so fidgety and uncomfortable. It took hubs over an hour of rocking and singing before she finally got into a deep enough sleep to stop idgeting and sleep in her bed. By which time hubs was exhausted so there weent our evening. No rest in the daytime or the evenings – relentless.
Then there is toilet training, which is going really, really well. But of course there are sometimes accidents. For Monkey these tend to happen after his nap. He doesn’t need to nap every day and on the days he does he wants to wear pants. Which is fine and he can hold it. But sometimes he wakes up really grotty and that’s when the accidents can happen. So this week we have had a weed on sofa and a wet bed. Both manageable, but after the wet bed I tried to get him to do a wee on the toilet. He wanted to stand, which was fine, except he then started pooing on the floor!
Add to this the fact that as LM isn’t napping much she was there and wanting to be involved. She is crawling and climbing everywhere at the moment and just wants to be involved, so as I realised he was pooing and tried to sit him on the toilet, she was crawling through my legs headed right towards the poo! aaaargh!! So imagine the scene, trying to be calm as Monkey is a bit egg-shelly after waking up wet, picking LM up and dumping her in the hall (where she immediately starts heading back to the bathroom) trying to pick up the poo and find antibac wipes to clean up before LM gets there. Like I said. Aaaargh.
Today I am meeting my friends and all our kiddies, it is rare these days tha we all get together and it will be lovely but honestly the arranging of the get together does my head in. One person doesn’t want to go here, one person doesn’t want to pay, one person doesn’t want to drive too far (and we all live in completely different areas). Then we have no idea what the weather is going to do so indoor or outdoor and so many indoor places get so busy now it’s the holidays, and again, aaargh!
I know we will have a nice time all together and I just need to learn not to get too involved with the planning of where we are going and just go with the flow once the decision has been made I think.
Thankfully there has been lovely moments too this week, even if they are a bit difficult to catch amongst the relentlessness of it all, so here are a few pics of lovely times with my kiddies this week.
a 5 min snuggle watching aladdin before LM woke up
Conventional wisdom seems to be that when it comes to potty training you should wait until your child is ‘ready’ to do it. Yet despite this I think a lot of us still feel under immense pressure to do it as early as possible. Yes we want to get rid of the cost and faff of nappies but more than that I think a lot of us feel like we aren’t doing a very good job if we still have a child in nappies at age 3 or older. This may be because of ‘helpful’ comments from others or a feeling of competition with friends children who were potty trained by age 2. Whatever the cause, we put pressure on ourselves to do it early, we don’t trust our intincts and we rush into it.
Numerous friends of ours with older children have warned us of this and have time and again reiterated the “don’t do what I did, wait until they are ready” mantra. Of course some children are ready at age 2, all children are different after all, but some aren’t and that is the point and it really has to be about the child.
So with the very helpful advice ringing in our ears, we have waited. It hasn’t been easy and we did try too early. With comments such as “it’s about time he was potty trained” and the pressure of starting playgroup in January we decided to try to potty train Monkey then, when he was. And we failed. After 15 accidents in 3 hours it was clear he just wasn’t getting it bless him. He was clearly trying and was sat on the toilet for ages with nothing happening then as soon as the pants were back on he would go in his pants. With a tiny baby and constant mess we were stressed and he was stressed and we called time. Maybe people will say we gave up too easily but we knew it wasn’t right and for once we actually trusted our instincts and decided to relax about the whole thing.
I set a new vague goal in my mind of the summer (with ideas of running around naked in the garden and not having to worry about toilet training while at playgroup) and we took a new approach. I know people say that you should have potties around to get them used to them and we had done that but to be honest they were just gathering dust as Monkey was completely uninterested in them. We knew we needed to think about Monkey, rather than just general advice, and tailor our approach to him.
Monkey’s biggest problem in fact was that actually he didn’t like his privates. He didn’t like looking at them or touching them or us touching them. In many ways it is good as we know that he would never like anyone else touching his privates but he would get so upset if we went near them. So our starting point was helping him accept they were normal. I’m not sure why he felt like that but we started getting him to wipe his privates at nappy changes and Daddy spent a bit more time naked and talking about his bits to try and get Monkey to relax and realise thet are just another part of his body and totally normal.
Gradually he relaxed about this a little bit, and for a long time we had been talking to him about going to the toilet like a big boy and we continued with that. He started to hate nappy changes, especially pooey ones so we kept reiterating how much better it was to use the big boy toilet and kept asking him if he would like to use the toilet. His answer was always his singsong “nofankyouuuu” until one day at bathy time he stood looking at the bath and said to Daddy “I don’t want to do a wee in the bathy” and when Daddy immediately asked if he would like to do a wee wee on the toilet, he said yes. Daddy popped him on the toilet (we have a cute seat with steps) and he did it! Well done Monkey!!
The next day after playing out in the paddling pool, I let him roam about naked for a bit afterwards and asked if he would like to do a wee on the “wee bush” (a random bush we have picked for wees, apparently hubs and his brothers had one when they were learning) or go in the potty. He tried on the bush but nothing happened then sat on the potty and did a wee and a poo! (He is going to hate reading this when he is older!) Aah big surprise and cue Mummy feeling really proud (and wondering what to do with a pooey potty for the first time lol).
From then on he used the toilet every night before bathy for wees and poos and sometimes the potty during the day. But with still going to playgroup twice a week and a holiday with a long car journey coming up we held back and didn’t rush.
When we got back from our holiday and could spend a good few days pottering about at home (and just taking short walks nearby to get out of the house) it was no nappies day. Monkey knew it was coming and was excited to wear pants. He was now 3 yrs 2 months. And you know what, he was ready and it has actually been really, really easy.
He had 3 accidents on day 1 and another 3 on day 2 but had far, far more successes. We started taking him to the toilet more often and on day 3 we had no accidents and no more for the next few days. He was even dry at naptime and bedtime for a couple of days and we were just shocked but also massively relieved by how well it was going! There was a few strops about the frequency of toilet trips and I realised that actually he can hold it for quite a long time and that I have to trust him to know when he needs to go.
This has led to a few more accidents, mostly tiny drips in his pants when he realises he needs to go, and one big accident. Which is fine as he needs to learn and it is still very early days really! One of the key things for us though has been saying that accidents aren’t a good thing, without admonishing him. I have read that you shouldn’t say “ah that’s ok” or “never mind” as that gives mixed messages. So we try and say “oh dear, that’s a bit yucky, wee goes in the toilet not in your pants, doesn’t it?” So we don’t tell him off but don’t say it’s ok, if that makes sense? We also give him tonnes of praise for going to the toilet as we know that is a big motivator for him.
I’m no expert on child rearing and have only potty trained one child but here are my tips for smooth potty training:
Wait until they are ready and encourage them and talk to them about it but let them take the lead.
Don’t give into pressure from others (and yourself) and trust your intincts about when they are ready, and when you are ready to give it your proper attention.
Tailor your approach to your child. Do they like reward charts? Then use them. Is praise enough of a motivator? Then just use that. You know your child better than anyone so you will work out the best way to motivate them to potty train.
When they have accidents (because they will) don’t tell them off, but don’t say “it’s ok” either as it gives mixed messages.
My work of the week this week is “progress” as we are making some great progress, on a number of fronts.
I wrote last week that we are starting our new big project, and honestly the builders have worked so hard and only 1 week later, the progress is incredible! They’ve obviously got a way to go yet but the work is well underway!
The old garage is feeling much more like a room, now the stud work is up, it is insulated and has the plasterboard up. The new, larger window has been created and the old garage doors (front and back) are well and truly gone. The foundations have been dug for the new wall on the garage and what will be our utility room, and today these were filled with concrete.
It’s very exciting though my word could also have been chaos as of course it has been noisy and hectic and a bit chaotic having the builders in – and they will be around for a while yet!
We’ve also made some progress getting rid of some of the old stuff from the garage and have sold a few things on ebay, which is brilliant. No point stuff we don’t use going back into the new garage! We’ve given away lots of baby clothes and other bits including a moses basket and nursing chair to friends. We know we aren’t having any more babies but it is lovely to see our bits go to a good home,
We are also making progress in a totally different area, potty training Monkey! I haven’t mentioned it but we also started potty training last week and Monkey has been doing amazingly. We’ve had less than 10 accidents all week and he is getting better and better at telling me he needs to do a wee (rather than just going when I take him). He goes a couple of hours between wees and has even had a few dry nights which we are hugely impressed with! I will write more about how it’s gone in a later post but I am so glad we waited until he was ready.
We tried earlier this year and he wasn’t ready, but now he is and he has just got it straight away. I know we all feel the pressure to do it early and having a 3 year old in nappies certainly what I thought would happen but waiting until he was really ready and following his lead has been absolutely the right thing for us. It has actually been really easy, which is a huge relief, and it is lovely seeing him in pants rather than nappies!!
In many ways it has been a tough, and certainly busy, week with the builders, LM and I have a cold and Monkey is a bit ratty and not 100% either. But it is good to feel like we have made some great progress and are really getting somewhere!