Hey guys! You must be reading this blog post because you’re about to, or thinking about starting Potty training. I thought I would write about our experience and discuss some important key talking points to do with Potty training. I will talk about; The signs, the preparation, the equipment, the task in hand, regression, patience and perseverance, the rumours and the highs and lows. I’ll be completely honest as always and if you have ANY questions you can totally message me or follow me on Instagram where I’ve posted all about it too!
I think it’s always good to start a Potty Training blog with the signs. I did buy two Potty Training books, one by Gina Ford & another more relaxed approach by an author I have no recollection of. So what I’m writing is pretty much what I followed and what I found worked for us. Some bits I’ve obviously made up myself due to what worked for Adeline and what didn’t. You know your own child so you’ll work that one out on your journey.
Let me also point out that this is my second attempt to Potty Training, we did try just after Adeline turned two in the Summer but she was no where near ready (plus it was a heatwave and truth be told we couldn’t be bothered to stay in and commit to being indoors) because in the beginning when you do first start you do need to stay indoors really. So we waited a few more months and here we are!
Adeline is 2 years and 7 months and my bun in the oven is 29 weeks old. Part of the reason that I knew that I was certainly ready was because it would be ideal to have it done and dusted before the new baby arrives (in plenty of time may I add.) But it isn’t obviously all about YOU being ready (but I do feel that it does play a big part in it) if you aren’t ready to put the graft in you may as well quit whilst your ahead.
Signs to look out for include;
1. Your child has dry nappies for at least an hour or two at a time.
2. They understand when they are having a wee and may tell you they’re doing one.
3. They recognise when they have a wet or dirty nappy and may pull at it, take it off or ask you to change it.
4. There may be visible signs your child needs to go to the toilet, like fidgeting or going somewhere quiet or hidden.
5. They know when they need to wee and may say so in advance.
Adeline ticked all of these boxes so I knew she was ready.
The prep & equipment
I gave Adeline advance warning we would be starting to learn how to use the Potty (like a big girl) a few weeks before and how exciting that we will be getting rid of nappies! I always brought it up as we were changing her nappy. I read this was really useful for children to then understand what was about to happen and I guess it’s less of a shock when they wake up one day to the task in hand.
So I showed Adeline her potty weeks before, her big girl knickers and introduced her to some books on Potty Training so that we had some really positive chats about it as a lead up to the big day! I do think this made a huge difference because she was super positive and I even asked her to help me create a reward chart, talked about it and asked her what stickers she would like- she picked dinosaur ones!
So I bought the books for myself & for Adeline, created a reward chart, bought the stickers and bought plenty of chocolate coins.
To treat or not to treat?
Now one of the books I read said “Do not use treats as rewards”. But Gina Ford herself (and if you know you know she’s a pretty sassy lady) said yes to all treats & rewards especially if you have stubborn child. Adeline isn’t necessarily stubborn BUT she is excited by the idea of a treat and It did work especially during the regression stage- which I discuss further down.
I also figured this is a pretty big deal for any child to learn how to control their bladder & bowels and to recognise their bodily functions, so a reward or a treat for doing this is massively worth it (we are at the point now where she just gets a sticker and she’s happy with that). In my experience the rewards made Adeline extremely proud, she knew that when she was given a sticker it was for her efforts & a chocolate coin for her poo efforts (I of course also used lots of praise and did a little song and dance on every successful wee or poo.)
May I point out the obvious but also sometimes I think we all need reminding because it can be difficult to hold back when you’re frustrated and especially if you have been doing the same thing for some days but DO NOT make the accidents a big deal. And don’t ever mention the accident later on in the day or before bed. Once I knew Adeline understood it and had an accident I would just remind her to go in the potty and not on the floor but I never shouted at her or told her that she was naughty. I feel like thats an obvious one- but you never know. Better to mention it. At the end of the day we would always count her stickers and say how clever she was going on the potty (like a big girl) but I didn’t mention the accidents ever.
What you’ll need
- Books for toddler
- Book for you – Gina Ford potty training in one week was the one I got
- Potty – if you buy multiple I advise you to make sure they are identical
- Potty ladders
- Portable potty- for outside.
- Reward chart
- Chocolate coins
1. Sticker chart/ reward chart- mine was really simple and I used a template on Pinterest. It simply said wee – poo- washed hands and you’d stick the sticker in the right column. And it goes without saying praise praise & more praise goes along way.
2. Potty- we went with a potty chair which she finds comfy and a good height
3. Toddler potty seat with steps- I bought this once she had mastered the potty as it was an upgrade to the potty. Also bare it in mind that your toddler may prefer going straight to this than the potty. And this will also help them not be scared of the toilet. So try both!
5. Underwear to try on and get used to!
The Task In Hand
Step 1: introducing the potty and making sure you take them to the toilet as much as possible. I found that every-time I needed a wee I would say ‘Come on, let’s go for a wee’. This encouraged her to sit on the potty each time and I would sing songs so she would sit longer! I think the important thing at the beginning is that they learn to sit still on the potty while you explain what you are doing and to you use clear and simple language and always remain really positive. Lots of praise!
On the first day of training, once Adeline had finished her brekkie I would put her in her ‘big girl knickers’. We decided to start with knickers because a the book I was following and a blog I was listening to both pointed out that if you start potty training naked they’d only then have to start again by getting used to training with knickers on, so I just went for it with knickers on.
The book also advises that once you’ve started with knickers DO NOT at any point put them back in nappies even to go out or in the car. The only time you can put them in nappies is when they are sleeping. And to make it clear that they are just for sleeping. I called them her special bedtime nappies. Unless your child is dry everyday for two weeks at night-time then remove nappies at bedtime otherwise don’t worry!
I don’t need to go into much detail on our day 1-2 because it was pretty constant with accidents and not much in the potty. I just remained calm and super positive. I took her to the bathroom with me whenever I needed a wee- which is pretty much every 20 mins with help from the baby!
During the first couple of days they will need frequent reminders to sit on the potty and just reminding ‘what a big girl you are in your big girl pants’.
After day 2 and not much success, I was like- “…but what happened to it taking 3 days?”- then I remembered EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT and to chill out.
HOT TIP: Don’t loose faith. I created a little chart on my notes page on my phone just so I could try notice a pattern of when she went. On the first day I was surprised at how little she went!
HOT TIP 2: Buy some nice juices so they are inclined to drink more and then you can crack on without waiting hours & hours for them to go.
By day 3 we were having less accidents and more wees in the potty. I did find myself constantly asking Adeline all the time ‘do you need a wee?’
To be honest I was pissing myself off, I can’t even imagine how Adeline was feeling. We were still in just knickers at this stage just FYI. I definitely needed to chill out more as I think I was putting too much pressure on her and it was almost having the opposite effect.
Things were looking up, lots of potty wees & we even mastered the poops at this stage which I heard are even harder. We had a slight regression when I tried to put leggings on her as she seemed to just wee herself in clothes (common though apparently). I also felt like I still had to remind Adeline at that point or get her to sit on her potty to either sing nursery rhymes, play puzzles or read a book- it’s good to try get them to sit on it little and often because at this point they don’t know the sensation of needing it, it just happens very suddenly.
This was a nursery day and an absolute disaster. I kind of expected it as its a new surroundings and lots of distractions. The day before she had done so well, as she had few accidents so I was feeling really positive but she actually refused to sit on their potty at nursery so just wet herself all day. By this point the regression was looming.
Honestly it’s so hard. For them and for you. It’s constant and intense – the amount of parents I’ve had as my ‘wing man’ throughout this, cheering me on, was amazing. I needed it though, I hadn’t even been outside for 6 days and thought we would of mastered it by now. I say WE because yes ultimately it’s your child learning but It is a proper team effort from both of you. Neither of you can have a day off, you have to keep the positivity up constantly & never take your eye of them. Worth it? Absolutely!
You may have noticed the Gina Ford book was called – Potty Training in one week. I now look at that as a basic guide line because I truly believe all children are different and just because it took Adeline over 7 days doesn’t mean she wasn’t ready at all. They are just all different! From day 13 (lucky for some!) she was DRY and has been ever since. She now goes to the Potty and or toilet (using her ladders) on her own and I don’t need to remind her.
In various books, on social media and the internet people suggested it could take anywhere from 3 days – 3 months so if like us it takes a little longer than your pals toddler don’t worry. Every child is different- I know I’ve said that but I know as parents it’s so easy to compare all the time.
It does happen and it’s a real kick in the balls. Between day 10-13 I was about to sack it off, trying to convince myself; she isn’t ready it’s taking too long. But actually my mind was telling me to suck it up and my gut was telling me to man up.
It’s so easy to throw in the towel because YOU are tired or YOU are fed up. But suddenly.. something happened. I read that you can really frustrate your child if you are asking them all the time if they need the potty and to try and get them to take the lead with it. Because Adeline had 2 days where she had no accidents and then the regression happened I knew she essentially ‘got it’ and that this was the regression everyone tells you about. Here to test you.. and believe me it does.
The Highs & Lows
My worst day during the process by far was when Adeline started ‘holding her wee’. This was partly because I think she didn’t want to go outside in her portable potty & she was perhaps feeling pressured. She started to get upset more and wanted her dummy as a comforter, by this point I felt so guilty. I think she held her wee for 7 hours at one point as I felt like I’d pushed her too far. But apparently it can be very common and that was only one day. I’m not ashamed to say i didn’t sleep that night and I cried to Thom- I do think pregnancy hormones played a part in that too!
So I had a sleepless night thinking all about it saying to myself that ‘I’ll give it to the end of the week’. Honestly you should of heard me, losing my shit I was!
Clearing my head
So I woke up the next day with a clear head. I wasn’t going to ask Adeline if she needed a wee, I was going for the cool & calm approach with just a little reminder telling her where the potty was. And that was it.
Suddenly she would just say ‘I need a wee’ ( those 4 magical words) and it was like something switched. Since day 14 she has been dry and I could literally cry. She seems so much happier as well and she is so proud of herself.
So it’s true patience & perseverance goes along way.
HOT TIP: If you have a partner try and get them to help you out to release you of the load for a bit and also don’t be afraid to ask for help from nursery too. We were really lucky that they helped out and had our back.
I now feel like a huge weight has been lifted and when your little baby has suddenly mastered the skill, the proudness you feel really does make it all worth it. We are at the point now where she just goes on her own and before we go out she will always try and go and usually is pretty successful (I call it pee on command). So utterly proud of my little Adeline. And myself! Battling Potty Training at 29 weeks pregnant. I reckon I need a lay down and a medal. I would say bottle of Prosecco but unfortunately no can do.
◦ Don’t ask them all the time if they need a wee wee. It’s annoying for them… and you!
◦ Let them take the lead
◦ Sit on the potty and make a game out of it with nursery rhymes
◦ Learn to watch the signs- Adeline would always stand suddenly still and look at me before she had an accident
◦ Go to the toilet together
◦ Ignore the 3 day potty training guides (unless of course your child smashes it in 3 days)
Do not put them back in nappies once you’ve decided to start potty training except for sleep time- I called them bedtime nappies.
GOOD LUCK! You got this! STAY COOL CALM AND COLLECTED! You and your child will have good and bad days, don’t beat yourself up when this happens. Try and remain positive. It’s not like any other milestones i’ve been through, but we got there and a truly believe you can too! I’d love to know how you get on and if you found my blog helpful in anyway so please leave a comment.
Love Charlotte and Adeline