I’m no expert when it comes to potty training. Nor have I been potty training long. In fact I have had two attempts at potty training my daughter, and we have been potty training for a grand total of 3 days. I gave up yesterday. No matter how many books I’ve read and how much potty training preparation I’ve done, there are so many pitfalls that I came across in our 3 days. So for anyone who is potty training at the moment, or about to start, here are some things to watch out for.
- Are they ready? I’m not sure how on earth you know this. Maybe they start requesting to use the toilet or refusing to wear nappies. In my case this didn’t happen and I just let my daughter roam nappy free for 3 days. The thing is she had no idea what she was doing. She had no idea that the wee or the poo came from her, and she would not go any where near the potty or the toilet.
- Don’t over egg it. I tried really hard to down play the entire situation by keeping it really relaxed, and not making a fuss. This is something I learnt when she refused to eat. If I didn’t make a fuss she would eat. So I kept it simple, by asking her every 20 minutes if she would like the use the potty, the firm answer was “no”, but I didn’t make a song and dance about this.
- Watch out when buying pants. We took a trip to Mothercare to buy pants, and she honestly wanted the entire shop. I let her choose the pants (horrible things with princesses on the front) but she seemed happy enough with them. She then wanted a pair of Peppa Pig Pyjamas and a Thomas the Tank Engine umbrella. It was a nightmare to leave and resulted in a huge toddler tantrum on the floor. If this sounds like your toddler it might be best to order them online.
- Accidents will happen. Now one thing I do know is not to make a huge fuss if an accident happens. I’ve learnt just to carry on and clean it up, and explain to your toddler that it’s only an accident. The last thing I wanted to do is scare my daughter into thinking she can only go to the toilet if she’s wearing a nappy. You will just have to grin and bear it when picking up a poo from the corner of the room.
- Beware of day time naps. There are two options you can offer here, either go nappy-less or put your child back into a nappy. I was adamant that I was going to put my daughter back into a nappy, but she was having none of it. To avoid any accidents at nap time soaking the mattress I placed an incontinence sheet under their bed sheet. Fortunately she didn’t decide to go during nap time. Phew! If you decide to put your toddler back into a nappy explain that nappies are only for nap and bedtime, and make sure it is removed as soon as they wake up.
- They dislike the potty. As I mentioned above my daughter dislikes the potty, she won’t go near it. However we did have a break through the other day when she sat on it for about 30 minutes whilst watching Peppa Pig on my phone. Unfortunately she didn’t do anything, but I realised that she needed a distraction. So if your child refuses to sit on the potty give them a distraction.
- You will do a lot of washing. If you’re letting your toddler wear pants and clothes instead of going down the half naked route, you might have a lot of washing to do. That’s ok. But prepare yourself for a return to the newborn days when the washing machine is on all the time.
- You might start to loose your mind. They say it takes three days to crack it, and you need to have a clear run at it when you can be at home so you can watch your child and their bottom like a hawk. I now understand why they say do it in the Summer or when it’s warm, as you can go outside in the garden. Spending two days cooped up in your front room is not entirely fun, and your toddler may hate you for it as well.
- What to do when you’re out and about? This is a challenging one as you simply cannot stay in the house all the time. We have a My Carry Potty that we will use when we are going out. Sadly the potty has not left the house yet, and this will only happen once she knows what to do with it.
- It’s so easy to give up. Don’t. If you think it’s working and you can see some signs of improvement, then keep going, and do not revert back to nappies. Unfortunately we had no signs of improvement, and along with a cold and possible ear ache yesterday, we abandoned our potty training plans.
So those are my pitfalls I’ve stumbled across in my grand total of 3 days potty training. I’m sure that there are so many more. No matter how much preparation I’ve done, how many books and DVDs we’ve watched together, it doesn’t seem to have worked. I guess that right now she’s just not ready. I just hope we’ll be third time lucky…..whenever that will be.
At the end of the day if you’re going through this, just breathe, and start again later if it’s not working. Don’t stress over it as your toddler will pick up on that.
How did you find potty training? I would love to hear if you have any successful top tips to share.