We have reached a major milestone with Susanna, she is out of nappies and it truly is divine! At two years and five months I had no real desire to start the potty training adventure. It’s kind of an unwritten rule that you begin training the summer before tots start pre-school, giving yourself time (and warmer weather) to navigate bare bums, potential puddles and that question on repeat, “do you need a pee pee?” I apologise in advance to my readers who may have stumbled across this post by accident, I am aware I have already said ‘bum’ and ‘pee pee’ and it may have caught you off guard. If you are not in this phase of life, I won’t at all be offended if you move on, especially if you are reading this over a nice coffee break. Potty talk is not for the faint hearted.
So, last week, I mentioned in passing on Instagram that Susanna had finally transitioned out of nappies two days previously. This sparked a huge conversation and an abundance of questions, suggestions and support! I thought the best way to address all these messages would be to put together a little guide in how we did it and in doing so I have some wonderful products that will no doubt help along the way. At this point I will say that I realise I am by no means an expert in this! I am just sharing our experience with our daughter in the hope that it may help in some small way. I have also enlisted the input of my fiercely loyal Instagram tribe of mamas to give you a more rounded experience. Are you ready? Let’s do this!
Waiting For A Sign
Or six as the case may be! Back in September, our little 11 month old was asking to go to the toilet and while this is one of the major signs of readiness, this was the only sign she was displaying and as it turns out, one sign does not necessarily mean they are good to go. We bought the books, toilet training seats, cute pants and filled a jar of jelly tots as rewards. I stayed home for five full days and gave potty training a real go. While she did really well, it just wasn’t the right time and she ended up having accidents any time I put pants on her. We called it quits and resolved to wait until all the signs were there.
According to Huggies, there are six signs of readiness, two or more of which are a good indicator that your little one is ready;
- Pulling at a wet or dirty nappy
- Hiding to pee or poop
- Interest in others use of the potty or copying behaviour
- Having a dry nappy for longer stretches of time
- Awakening dry from a nap
- Telling you that they are about to go or have just gone in their nappy
This time round Susanna was displaying all of these except for the hiding to pee or poop, she just didn’t make eye contact during the business!
Even though she was checking off this list, I wasn’t ready for the commitment of training again, it was hassle and disappointment and mess the first time round and perhaps I was a little scarred. This leads me to my first piece of advice; wait until your child is ready regardless of age or stage. Forget the numbers, push past pressure, just observe your own little one and let them lead the way.
This time round, Susanna watched her friend use the toilet with great interest and once he had gone home she asked to use the toilet herself. Two days later we had a girl who was fully trained and it was a simple, pain free process with zero accidents in those two days! Worlds apart from our first experience.
Method In The Madness
There will be accidents, and that’s ok! Eleanor at age two years and eight months loved the Princess Polly Potty book. We started with a potty and waved bye bye as we poured the contents down the toilet, it made it fun for her. Then we progressed to a toilet seat with steps to encourage her to be independent. Stickers, dancing, made up songs and a sweetie were great motivators. @ecurragh
I am going to start this section by giving you a rundown of my method and why I did things this way. A little later I will share some methods used by other mamas because as we all know too well, there is no ‘one size fits all’ in parenting.
First things first, we ditched the potty all together, both times round. This was on the advice of my wonderful Mother In Law who warned me that training with a potty can sometimes make tots nervous when it comes to using an actual toilet. It sounded like extra hassle to me so instead we purchased two sturdy toilet seats from Asda and kept one upstairs, and one downstairs for easy access. As a result, Susanna has no fear of the toilet and will happily go in any loo’s whether at home or out and about. It also saved so much time in getting the job done if you know what I mean, no distractions, just business.
I made a mistake first time round (although many do this and it works) in that I let Susanna stay naked from the waist down during training. The problem arose when I started putting pants on her! This gave her the sensation of a nappy all over again and she just went for it without a care or concern about wet pants. It was frustrating for me (she had no idea, tip: always keep it cheery). This time we made a huge deal about pants! We bought a mixture of Princess and Moana pants and told her that while she is wearing these she must tell us when she needs the toilet so as they don’t get wet. The excitement of character pants was no doubt part of her success this time round. I have no doubt the fact that she was used to her bottom being covered from the start helped to ease the confusion.
For the first two days we gave Susanna treats for using the toilet; one jelly tot for a pee pee, two for a poop. Extra bonus; she also managed to learn some colours during this as she picked her sweets. We really celebrated every time she went to the toilet and were also strict about the sweets, she only got them when she really did go to the toilet. It was fun and she was so proud of herself. After the first two days she pretty much forgot about the sweets and only asked for them once or twice before leaving that reward system behind her. That’s the thing; when they are ready everything is so much more straight forward.
I spent those first days sounding like a broken record; “do you need a pee pee or a poop?” on repeat, all day. I was determined to catch her before it was too late and it totally worked. Now I just make sure to ask every so often and always before we go out and about but mostly she will tell me herself or do that little cross legged dance that I have come very familiar with. So my advice here is ask and ask again, yes its monotonous but it saves puddles…or worse!
On the second day I needed to leave the house and head into town. I debated whether to put a nappy on and decided against it; instead opting for not one but two spare outfits and a towel on the car seat. Absolutely no need, the concept had well and truly sunk in, she used the toilet before leaving the house and didn’t need to go again until we made it to town. On other occasions since she has managed to hold it until I get her to a toilet, something she was not ready for first time round.
As for nap time and night time she managed to stay dry from the second day onward. I continued to put a nappy on as we had lots to use up but she just didn’t need them so I invested in a good waterproof mattress protector, again from Asda, and some (puppy) training pads to put underneath her in bed. I went for puppy ones because they are a fraction of the price and do exactly the same job. Obviously this means making sure they use the toilet right before bed and giving water instead of milk/juice (simply because they will inevitably drink much less).
The variation in experience was huge this time in comparison to the first time we tried, not down to a huge change in methods but simply because she was ready this time! There has only been one or two accidents (both down to us not realising she needed the toilet, oops). The first time I spend hours, sitting on the bathroom floor, singing nursery rhymes while she ‘tried’ to go. I have no real reason why this was the case but I imagine that it was down to the fact that she didn’t really have control over her bladder and bowel and so sometimes would think she needed to go but actually, she didn’t! This time, the job is fast and easy; I haven’t had to sit on the floor once!
My top tip is to just remember that all kids are so different so don’t put yourself under any pressure that it has to be done by a certain age. Let them dictate the pace. Introduce it and talk about it but let them set the pace. @amumsequilibrium
Insta-Mums To The Rescue
As I mentioned before, and you may have already noticed some bits of advice from my Insta-mum tribe, I have some great advice and experience to share with you. I decided to enlist the help of other mamas to show you just how varied the potty training experience can be and to reinforce the fact that you should do it your way, according to your child, at your own pace. Here are some top tips from some wonderful ladies, if you have more to add please do!
Alfie has recently come out of nappies at two and a half years; my biggest advice is to have patience and lots of it! @adventuresofthetompsons
I set aside a few days in a row at home which worked wonders for my two and a half year old, Anna. Also, the ‘My Carry Potty’ is fabulous for when your out and about. @catbrown87
Daisy absolutely loved the Princess Polly Potty Book when she trained at two and a half. @lookingaftermama
My two boys, Jake and Alfie trained at age two and two and a half and my biggest tip is to just make sure they are ready. @lauras_little_loves
Both Miles and Emily were two and a half when I trained them; keeping a potty in a few rooms so as they can see it really helps them not to panic about getting to the toilet in time. @little_stars_at_247
Florence is training at the moment, aside from patience the Potette Travel Potty is a must @the_mcclooos
The three P’s are essential; Patience, Proper Pants and Praise. I have two who trained at two and a half, Isaac and Eva, and one head strong boy, Tom, who trained at two years ten months. @jaquibailie
My boys, Nathan & Reuben both trained at two and a half. Bring a potty everywhere and do not give up half way through! @justlaurajayne
My three were all around two and a half when they trained, my top tip is to use a rewards chart system; every small achievement celebrated and we went to a toy shop at the end of the process. @janmary
I started potty training Anna when she was two as she was showing all the signs, she picked up the process quickly with pee’s but poops took a good two months to get! I started to think it was never going to click. Rope in older siblings or cousins to show how its done. @suebo1984
Both of mine were in pants by age two. A ‘door open’ at the toilet policy really worked for mine. Both were poo trained first which is quite unusual. @themaileys
Jonathan was 26 months, we let him pick what potty and pants he wanted and read some training books to him as he went to the toilet. He was trained in about four days. Make it fun, if the kid is stressed it won’t work and they could get scared! @laburnett11
Erin was 20 months, we just made sure we had a potty everywhere and a book to read @rach.I.carroll
Both Erin and Callum were trained by two years and two months. It was summer so they just ran around home with only pants on the bottom half, within a week both were trained for day and night. @lattesandlittleloves
Ezra is two years and four months and loves the little ladder with the handles so as he can go to the toilet all by himself @simonewilkinson_
I did my eldest two at three years old, both done in a day and no fuss because they were ready @k_devlin
Eli was trained for day and night at two years four months. He got a sweet for a pee and a new colour of play doh for a poop. On my hardest day when I almost gave up I just reminded myself that this day next week it would be done. We have never looked back. @nattylatewood
Nathan was two years and eight months; he loved the Pirate Pete sticker book. My must have item is the cushioned Karibu Step Up Toilet Seat, his posture was so much better. @caromoeee
I hope this post has helped to alleviate some of the anxiety around potty training. It is not a barrel of laughs at any stage but when your child is ready it will undoubtedly be so much easier. As I sign off on all this potty talk I just want to reinforce that there is no ‘right’ age to do this, do not be pressured into training your child before they are ready. I also want to encourage you to keep it fun and laid back for both you and your tot. There will be accidents, don’t cry over spilt milk, or pee as the case may be! If you would like any more advice or if you have any tips to add in please do get in touch. Thank you for reading, and if you are about to embark on this adventure, good luck, you got this!
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