To say that we had a rough start to potty training would be an understatement. Instead of struggling through, I decided to give up on potty training a few weeks ago.
I don’t regret that decision at all. It gave us the fear to know that we needed to be prepared and the time to make sure we were.
You see, I don’t have the patience for potty training and I was foolishly living in a dream that she would magically do it herself. For those that haven’t yet experienced potty training, I can only say that it is by far the most stressful experience that I’ve had as a mother.
But I’ve found a few little tricks. Yes, it’s cheating, but it’s worked for us beautifully and has given me the confidence I need to get us all through it in one piece and with (largely) dry knickers.
See my list of tricks to cheat your way through potty training:
1. Know when it’s okay to give up
We tried potty training twice before having any success. The timing wasn’t right the first couple of times. We went for a few hours but after countless accidents (even after asking if she needed a wee seconds before), I decided that enough was enough.
The trick is knowing that you can give up and that’s fine. We’re not all perfect and that’s okay. Sure, you can continue too, but know your own limits. Sometimes it’s just not worthwhile if the consequence is just that you can try again in a few weeks.
It’s not failing if you know you’ll try again when you’re better prepared and when the time is right.
2. Know when the time is right
We knew that the time was finally right when she was ceremoniously doing wees on the potty in the morning and at night before bath time. We gave her stickers every time she did a wee (for a couple of weeks), until she was a pro at these times.
When asking if she wanted a wee through the day every now and again, she then went a day with only having one wee in her nappy. The time was right for us when I felt confident that we’d be successful this time.
3. Bribery is okay
Devise a system that you’re happy with to encourage going to the toilet. Whether that’s a shiny sticker, a small toy or (heaven forbid) a snack. Do what you must and don’t feel disheartened by it. If it helps you to reach the end goal then that is all that counts.
4. Accept help
After going a whole day with only one little wee in her nappy, we decided to enlist the help of our nursery with potty training. You know what? I don’t regret that decision at all. We started off the process the day before and then she had two full days at nursery where they practically trained her the rest of the way.
Accepting that nursery can help and using them makes sure that you’re not locked in a house for a week on your own (if you use a nursery).
There’s no need to do it all on your own if you don’t have to. There is no reward for potty training a child on your own other than your own self of accomplishment.
5. Understand that number 2 may take longer…
Okay, so I originally said that we’d only do potty training when Georgia could tell me that she needed a poo. Well. That didn’t happen for us. At the minute she keeps it in until she has a nappy on.
Just accept that it will happen, but don’t put pressure on her. She’ll get there in her own time.
6. Introduce the potty
We introduced the concept of a potty using the Princess Polly Potty book. It has an annoying tinny ‘horray’ button that she loves to press and guided her through what was going to happen on the potty.
For us it was a nice addition to slowly introduce the potty with repetition so that she knew and understood what she’d be doing.
6. Be prepared for every eventuality…
I’ve bought quite a few useful tools to help us with potty training. Mainly to help decrease the likelihood of accidents when we least want them.
For those trips out when you HAVE to go out. You needn’t worry about them as long as you’re prepared. Here are our must haves other than the usual Potty, Step & Knickers combo.
Bambino Mio training pants
Made with terry cloth, these are absorbent potty training knickers. They’re great as they aren’t nappies but they are enough to help not go through 100 pairs of leggings. They’ll know that they’ve been to the toilet as if they were wearing knickers, but won’t leak like a sieve like regular underwear.
If you’re popping out, these bad boys can help make sure that you only need to change their knickers without having to mop up a small puddle in the middle of Tesco.
The travel potty
There’s nothing more middle class than your daughter saying that she needs ‘her potette’.
Basically it’s a fold down potty that comes with liners (a bag with a cotton pad at the bottom) for when you’re caught short – or it can be used on toilet seats with the legs folded out so you don’t have to hover a toddler over the toilet when out and about.
It’s small enough to pop into the bag – especially when you’re no longer carrying around a stash of nappies.
Car seat protector – piddle pads
These are fab.
Waterproof, they are universal car seat protectors to be fitted onto the car seats, or pushchairs. You never know when an accident will happen so it’s great to be prepared… especially for long journeys!
It isn’t sealed down, so is just removed to be washed without a faff.
The Gloves are on
Oh trust me. For that poop in a pair of knickers? You’re going to wish you had a pair of rubber gloves. Make sure you have a pair handy as well as some bleach or stain remover (or knickers you don’t mind being thrown into the bin).