pants as a hat toilet training

Potty training – heaven or hell?

As N’s almost 3 and starting in the pre-school room at nursery, I decided that maybe we should take a go at potty training.  Post-Christmas, I had a week off work, so it was the perfect opportunity to at least make a start on him being in pants all the time.

Ever hopeful, I’d read Gina Ford’s Potty training in a week book.  It all seemed to make sense, and given N generally ends up developing in text book fashion (timings, ability etc), I was holding out that within a week we’d get fairly close to what she was suggesting.

The idea is that you prep beforehand – so having the potty around for them to practise sitting on for a while, weeing or not, and get all your equipment ready that you might need (toilet seat, potty, something for the car for them to sit on, reward chart).  N’s been happy to sit on the potty for a while (I’ve got photos of him back in May sitting on it before a bath, although not weeing on it), but about 3 months ago he refused to ever sit on the potties, but the toilet was fine.

So he’s been weeing on the toilet before his bath for a couple of months.  The last month or so has not only been waking up dry, but coming through and telling me he needed a wee, wandering off to the bathroom for me to set up his seat etc.  He’s also chosen a couple of times at both his nurseries to sit on their toilet, although I’m not sure he’s done anything in them.  So all the signs were there that maybe it would be a good time to try.

Reward chart was started, stickers were readied, and I explained what we were going to try and do.  He chose what pants to wear, and first thing after lunch he went off to the toilet and without a worry wee’d and poo’d.  I was astonished.  Sticker and ‘well dones’ duly given, then it was onto 15 minute reminders.  But since that time, N decided it was all about the potty, with limited toilet going.  I think it was largely because he can put the potty in any place in the house, as I can’t believe it would be that comfy.  He could play with his toys, sit and watch tv, read books, or just get me down on the floor to chat to him.

pants as a hat

Mornings seemed to work really well.  Regular 2 hourly wees on the potty with no issues, although I was having to encourage, rather than him asking or going of his own accord.  Post lunch though, he was practising extreme bladder control…would sit on the potty but not wee, then it would get to much later on and he’d have a huge accident of both varieties.  All I can say is, clothes and socks soak up  a lot of wee!

The poo was very annoying, although lots of people say that it takes a while to get that.  I think he preferred watching it being tipped into the toilet after an accident, rather than actually using the toilet himself.  Disgusting child!  And he wouldn’t necessarily tell me he was wet.  He was having accidents straight after sitting on the potty, which was very frustrating, and there was no way of me being able to change that.

After day 3 where he’d had a good day with lots more on the potty than not, we set up a button jar as well as the sticker chart.  It meant he could see how much more space needed filling to get his Tractor Ted dvd reward.  N has never really been that excited about stickers or rewards, but he did seem proud of it, wanted to choose his own button, and kept walking past and saying ‘nearly full’.

We went on a couple of trips to village shops which I wasn’t too worried about.  He’s always seemed to have a dry nappy previously after shopping trips into town, so a few minutes out to local shops was fine.  We did have a family/friends new year’s day party at my brother in law’s where I was on tenterhooks all afternoon because he was very focused on playing with his cousins and friends, so I knew he wouldn’t stop for himself.  Needless to say he held it all afternoon, then had 2 accidents.  Neither he was fussed about – I think it would be easier if he didn’t like being in wet/mucky clothes, then he might have got it a bit quicker.

So I was a little concerned how the first day at nursery would go.  I packed plenty of pants and clothes, told them on dropping him off how he’d been doing and then left them to it, hoping that it wouldn’t be a total disaster.

Unfortunately it was.  Despite their stickers, the mini toilet that he’d been quite excited about, and them asking him/taking him regularly, he was through all his clothes before lunchtime, so it was back to pull ups after not doing one wee on the toilet or potty.  He’d also got stressed by that point about going to the toilet so their view was he wasn’t quite ready at the moment to do pants, and they’d try again in a few weeks.

I knew it would have been much harder at nursery when there’s so much going on, but I’d hoped that he’d have been happy to follow the older children’s example.  Fat chance, given that hasn’t worked at his nursery school where he’s the only one in nappies now.

So the pressure’s now taken off me and him at home (not sure the OH agrees about stopping), but it means that we can try and go back to pull ups and what we were doing before, just letting him go morning and evening as routine.  Then during the day, will ask him regularly if he wants to go, hopefully with him getting it while in pull ups before then moving to pants when he’s got that.  Today he went quite happily off to nursery (dressed in pull-ups and pants over the top – my concession to him wanting to wear pants), so at least yesterday’s experience didn’t stress him out.

Potty training seems such a minefield.  It was a real surprise as N’s always been easy on everything else…weaning, general eating, playing and sharing with friends, socialising, physically, behaviour etc so it’s a bit of a shock to find something that’s been a) hard to know when to start given he’s been ticking all the ‘are they ready to potty train’ boxes and b) hard to get him to progress.  I think if I was at home with him for longer, then I’d have continued, but there’s no point stressing it when he’s got home and two nurseries to crack.

Hopefully, within a couple of months he’ll just decide to do it himself.  In the meantime, I’ll keep buying pull ups, and watching out for signs that he might just be ready (hopefully that’ll be before he’s 18!)

Do you have any tips other than wait until they do it themselves?

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  1. CK is just that little bit older than N and we’re going through exactly the same thing. He really doesn’t care about being wet and dirty. I’ve tried him in pants every few weeks for the past six months but so far, no joy. I too am hoping for success before he turns 18.

    1. There seems to be a lot going through the same at the moment. It’s great to hear it’s all normal. I think it would definitely be easier if they hated being wet. Maybe that’s a girl thing? Good luck with CK

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