With my youngest having just turned two potty training is something hubby and myself have recently been talking about, yep we are that couple that sit whilst the boys are in bed talking about well… the boys and yes potty training was the subject that evening. So I thought this was a fab opportunity to share with you a few tips I’ve picked up along the way from potty training my other boys.
With already having potty trained four other boys I can honestly tell you from my experience, which is the experience of being a mum i’m by far any type of professional, it’s not something that needs to be dreaded. There are signs to look out for to suggest your toddler is ready to take off their nappy which I’ll tell you below but, and yes this is a BIG…BUT if you are not ready to start potty training as lets face it, it is a big deal or there is about to be any changes within your day-to-day routine or household like a new baby, a house move or even a holiday just around the corner it’s maybe best to hold off until you see how your little one copes with these changes first.
Ok so you have decided you are ready and there is no major changes about to happen anytime soon that you can foresee, here are just a few signs your toddler might be ready for potty training.
The internet and books are full of signs that your toddler is ready for potty training but I think generally you just know if they are ready or not. Having said that I have put five of the signs which I go by.
- He/She is around the age of 2
- Knowing they have done a poo or being uncomfortable when their nappy is wet
- Can follow simple instructions like ‘can you pass me the toy’, ‘go get your shoes’
- They are having longer periods of time with a dry nappy, which is showing they are able to hold wee (bladder muscles have developed)
- Showing interest in mummy/daddy’s toilet habits or even an older sibling’s
Above I put ‘might be ready’ as every toddler is different whilst some are ready before the age of 2 some aren’t ready till the age of 3 or closer to 4.
My first child potty trained quite happily and quickly at the age of 18 months without many accidents whilst my second was around 2 years and 4 months as he didn’t mind the feeling of being wet and even though I tried potty training him just before his second birthday he wasn’t as ready as I thought he was so we just stopped and when I tried the second time he got it really quickly and was dry within days.
Something I have found that really works is buying a potty in advance and making it into a routine that just before getting in the bath they sit on the potty and try to do a wee, at the beginning you’ll be really lucky if they wee on it and if they do that’s amazing but if your little one is anything like mine as soon as their feet hit the bath water that’s when they decide to wee. As time goes on though and they get used to the new routine just before bath time you’ll find more often than not they will start to wee in the potty.
I’ve found this a great way of slowly introducing the potty as its only once a day and they can get a feeling of what it’s all about and the new sensation of not having something pressed up against their bits whilst pee’ing before actually embarking on full on potty training.
You and your toddler are ready now what?
I always find its best to be organised with everything you’ll need to start off the potty training journey, so below is the things I purchase.
- A travel potty- I find these really useful when leaving the house as toddlers can go from not needing to pee to be absolutely bursting in a couple of seconds and trying to get to a public toilet in time with the added hope there isn’t a queue can be quite stressful especially if you have other children with you. A travel potty isn’t an essential though as a standard potty can be taken out in a plastic bag along with a bottle of water to swirl it out, I just find a travel potty a lot smaller and more convenient to take out with us as it fits in the under-basket of the pram and with five children I need as much under-basket pram storage as possible.
The travel potty I have recently purchased for jasper is the Cheeky Rascals My Carry Potty and although it was pricey I can see it getting a lot of use even for the older boys when on road trips as there is always one who suddenly needs a wee.
I purchased mine from Boots UK but I have seen them in Mothercare UK (also Mothercare Gibraltar).
I do recommend shopping around either in store or online as there are a few different brands of travel potties available.
- Big boy pants/Big girl knickers- ok this is a must and a lot of them!
During the first week or so when they are getting used to the feeling of wee’ing and poo’ing as well as having to walk away from what they are currently doing, there is going to be quite a few accidents. Don’t forget this is a new sensation for them as before now they have just wee’ed or poo’ed in a nappy and carried on with what they are doing without even a second thought, they need to get used to the sensation of what it feels like to need a wee and even we know as adults if we are doing something that is captivating we will hold in our wee until the very last-minute so we don’t have to stop what we are doing. The only difference with us is we know how long we can hold it and our bladder muscles are way more advanced than a toddler to stop us from having an accident.
For Jasper I have purchased 20 pairs of pants as I like to know that I’m not going to run out and if your fortunate to live close by to either an Asda or Primark you can pick up toddler underwear for a few pounds. I might have gone overboard with the amount of pants, but got in the above places or in the sales then too many is better than not enough.
(I didn’t check out any of the other supermarkets hence just mentioning Asda)
- A reward- This could be anything from praise (praise is a must) to a sticker or even a sweet of some sort.
With all of my boys we have always given Smarties as a reward, one for a pee and two for a poo as well as a lot of praise and singing ‘pee, pee on the potty’ I have to admit that’s the only 4 words that ever get sung over and over again.
This time though with Jasper we are going to use the Kiddylicious Crispie Tiddlers as he absolutely loves them which will be a great treat for him.
It’s always best to start potty training on a day where you haven’t got much going on and your mainly in the house as it makes it easier. As soon as your little one wakes in the morning its to explain whats going to happen with regards of wearing big boy/girl pants and every time they need a pee/poo they need to sit on the potty or at least tell mama or dada. It’s always best to try to take their nappy off as soon as they wake in hope to catch the first morning pee in the potty plus at the moment you want them to associate wake time is for no nappies and sleep time is for nappies.
LETS PUT THOSE BIG BOY/GIRL PANTS ON!! and now its just a waiting game, watch out for signs of needing a pee or poo but in my experience you want to aim for them to sit on the potty every 20-30 minutes but you might find the day is made up of accident after accident, which is normal as before this day they have just walked around and done everything in a nappy as they continue playing with a toy or running around. Keep on trying and give plenty of encouragement, the first day can be really testing but it is a new skill they are learning and with everything it might take a day or two before seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
For nap times I would put a nappy on the boys and I must admit I did do this for quite a while but once I found that they continued to wake up dry I stopped putting one on but would use a travel changing mat (the ones that come with a changing bag) with a towel over the top just in case they had an accident whilst napping. Also when venturing out and about pop the changing mat that you get with your changing bag with a towel over the top on the seat of your Pram to protect it from any accidents, this also works really well in the car seat or anywhere in general that you want to protect from any accidents.
If by day 4 or 5 you feel like potty training isn’t working and your lucky to catch anything in the potty then maybe he/she just isn’t 100% ready yet, which is fine you can retry again in a few weeks.
Carry on encouraging a pee on the potty before bath time and maybe introduce it into your morning routine so when they wake, before putting on a fresh nappy they sit on the potty and try to do a pee.
Every toddler develops in their own time and that goes for learning new skills also so try not to compare with friends children. I know it’s hard!
I have had where one of the boys was too scared to poo in the potty, im guessing it was the sensation and not having a nappy pressed against his bum as he poo’ed. If you’re having a similar problem try lining the potty with a nappy so when they sit down they can feel it against their bum, it’s not the best solution but it worked for us and then gradually over time we just removed the nappy; if im honest I can’t even remember removing the nappy from the potty so it must have been we just forget to put it in.
I understand with busy days it can seem easier just to pop the nappy back on to be able to run errands without having to worry about still keeping on top of potty training especially if you have other children that need keeping an eye on, but this can confuse them as to when they can just pee themselves and when they have to go on the potty. Its best when you decided to take the nappy off to leave it off and follow through with the 4 or 5 days until you judge if they are ready or not.
Additionally you might find that potty training is going really well and then all of a sudden you feel like you are right back at the begging with constant accidents, this is normal its kind of like the novelty has worn off and they suddenly realise that they have to stop doing what they are doing all the time.
Keep going it will pass and sitting on the potty to wee/poo will suddenly become second nature.
Reusable Pull-Ups I’ve never used them so can’t say if they work at helping with potty training but every supermarket seems to stock them. I have used Bambino Mio potty training pants though and despite not being able to hold a full wee they will protect your little ones trousers from a dribble; you know, the wee’s they hold in until the last-minute and have a little dribble whilst you frantically run them to the toilet?! Yep it soak a dribble up but not a full on accident.
Are you currently potty training using Pull-Ups? Or have you used Pull-Ups with a sibling?
Let me know what you thought of them.
I think I have covered everything, well everything that I can think of at the moment.
Jasper will be starting his potty training journey soon but to be fair I’m not 100% ready just yet and with the boys having just gone back to school we are enjoying going to playgroups and spending time together just us two.
If your just about to start your potty training journey I hope it goes smoothly for you both, don’t stress and enjoy this new milestone in your toddlers life.