As I mentioned in my last post we are currently in the midst of potty training our eldest son Eli so I thought Id do a little update on how it's going so far.
Firstly Eli is now 2 years 9 months old and like ever first time parent potty training experience we attempted to start it too early when Eli was just 2 years old. Boy those 9 months sure made a huge difference! When we first tried to potty train Eli was scared of the potty, cried hysterically if we put him on it, wasn't able to hold his wee in to be able to get to the potty and just was generally frightened and uncomfortable with the whole experience.
So my first major and most important piece of advice that we have learnt is: Do not force it, wait until they are ready. You will know when they are....they might start telling you when they need the toilet....taking or asking to have their nappy off....start sitting on the potty or showing a big interest in the potty.
This is what happened with us a whole 9 months later Eli started to ask to wear pants, he got them out his wardrobe and was showing a big interest in them. A simple little hint like that makes the biggest difference and this leads on to my next piece of advice....
Let them pick out some pants, if they are into dinosaurs, cars, Peppa Pig....buy what they are interested in this will spark their interest and will make them want to wear them. Also let them pick out a potty too, this maybe a little bit more hit and miss as some children maybe more comfortable with a toilet insert seat on the regular toilet rather then a potty. Eli found using the regular toilet a little too scary so a potty was best for him. It doesn't matter if they are not ready for potty training yet have them around the house where they can be seen every day, this will help the child get used to the presence of the potty and are less likely to be scared of it. It will also be easier to see if they are ready to start learning as they might start sitting on it all by themselves, playing with it or asking about it.
Information communication is key.....they need to understand what it is and why. Leading up to potty training tell them everyday that the potty is for wee wee's or poo's and that big boys/girls go on the potty. They need to be able to tell you when they need to go so they need to start associating it with words, I used to use the word wee wee every time I changed a wet nappy or asking if Eli had done a Poo.
Now you have all the equipment and your child is giving you those hints that they are ready it is time to start learning how to use the potty, and I have learnt that there are 3 tips that make this stage easier:
Rewarding successes - When they successfully go to the toilet on the potty they need to be given all the praise! Lots of love and big positive words if they are successful but they might need a little convincing that weeing on the potty is a good thing so reward charts and stickers might be a good idea also. Eli wasn't very interested in stickers but he is very motivated by food and as we never give him chocolate a little treat of a white chocolate button every time he did a wee on the potty worked perfectly. He would sit on his potty do his wee and say 'all finished, chocolate please!'.
Correcting misstakes - Do not get worked up over accidents they are going to happen lots but they need to be corrected for them to learn. If the child has an accident using words like 'oopsy' 'oh dear' but very light heartedly never ever tell them off or show angry or frustrated emotions they will pick up on this. Even if they are finished going put them straight on the potty telling them next time try and get it in the potty.
It is always best to start completely naked, Eli can go all day with no accidents if he is naked and we are now upgrading to pants and learning to pull them down when he needs to go. This is where accidents can happen as it may feel as though they have a nappy on but they will soon realise that the wet sensation is not nice.
I have learn that the looser the pants the better and once you have cracked the pulling down pants to go toilet stage you will then also need easy to pull down trousers too! Eli is still learning how to deal with having to pull clothes down, this week we have been practicing pulling them down every time he needs a wee so that soon he will be able to do it all by himself.
For this stage of learning i would suggest staying indoors as much as possible, taking a week off so that you can give your child all the help and attention they need. At first you may need to put them on the potty every few hours or if they are showing signs that they need to go just until they catch on and start going by themselves. This may be time consuming so make sure you have that time to spare, never try and potty train when you have a new baby or are going to move house soon as the disruption may cause set backs.
We haven't got to the going out and using the potty stage yet but always be prepared! Carry with you plenty of spare clothes and pants for accidents, ask your child frequently if they need to go and maybe take a collapsable travel potty with you or always be aware of your nearest toilet.
Track progress and set goals - For us we are trying to potty train Eli before he starts nursery in september and although we are not using a sticker chart we have a drawn up a progress tracker on an old white board with targets to achieve. Every child may struggle with different aspects of potty training so adapt it to your child's needs, for us Eli struggles with pooing on the potty so far he will hold it in until we put his nappy on at night....this is something we are working on.
Our targets are each day to have no accidents, to be able to go out in pants successfully and for him to start doing his poo's on the potty. Once Eli has been successful in all of these daily then he will get a big treat in this case its a trip to the cinema. We will explain it to him after everyday and it will give him something nice to work towards.
When it comes to potty training every child is different but this is what we have learnt is working for Eli so far. I hope some of this advice was useful and I will update you on our progress on getting Eli dry during the day.
Thank you for reading.