I quite honestly can’t take much credit for these Potty Training tips, because I have to admit that I was one of the lucky ones who wasn’t really the one who decided it was time. But, I often find myself in conversation with other parents who are struggling with getting their kids potty trained, and I thought it would be a good topic to touch on.
Firstly, for us parents living in the Northern Hemisphere, we are currently the ones who have the perfect opportunity for Potty Training! Why? Because your kids can happily prance around the garden in undies or bare botty without getting cold and sick. Why do I mention this? Because this is exactly how it happened for us!
Secondly, we get a long Christmas holiday (6 weeks), so it means that you are home more, and I will touch more on this shortly.
Olly came home from school at the end of second term with a report card. On that card it said: “Oliver uses the toilet independently at school…” Hold on, he what??? That’s when I knew that it was time. He had shown a very keen interest at about one and a half, and I know that many kids do, however, it fades. So at two and a half, we were all ready to rid of the diapers! I was, quite honestly at that point where I totally wouldn’t miss those poopie nappies, and having to cart around hoping that I remembered to pack some every time we left the house. The expense of nappies is a topic I am not ready to discuss!
So, because the holidays were a decent length, I decided – THIS IS IT!!!
David took Olly on a special boys trip to Woolworths to choose his very own ‘big boy undies’. I think that trip in itself was an incredibly significant part of the whole transition. I can highly recommend this as the first step. (Keep in mind, you need to make sure that YOU are in it one hundred percent). Create an exciting thing out of what is happening – after all, it is a sign that your little one is reaching a level of independence that you should ALL be proud of. Give them the light – let them shine! Olly returned from the mall beaming. He had chosen three packs of undies (YOU DO NEED A LOT!!!) – some with patterns, some with pictures. They were all important and special to him.
We tore open the packs and from that moment, he put on his first pair, and he hasn’t worn day nappies since. I decided that we were going to hibernate and be home bodies for the first week of the holidays, and it is honestly the best advice I have for parents who are potty training a toddler. Encourage them to go to the toilet or potty every half an hour. But, with him playing outside most of the time, it was a less messy experience. If he couldn’t make it to the toilet, he would pull down his undies and wee outside in the garden (Gross? Not at all! We all did it).
Three days into Potty Training, I had to pop down to the store. Without even thinking, I took him without a nappy on. As we were in the queue, he looked with big eyes and said: “MOMMY, I NEED A WEEEEEE!”. Interestingly enough, I asked him if he could hold it in for five more minutes, and he did. We used a reward chart by Munchkins for every time he used the actual toilet (Olly has never wanted to use a potty). This made the process that much more exciting.
We of course did have a couple of accidents, but he learned very quickly that the feeling of wee running down his leg, or wet undies was uncomfortable.
I think that many parents make the mistake of trying to force potty training. Just as we, as adults hate being forced to do things – almost creating a negative bubble around the specific thing, our kids feel the same way. Instead, take them on that trip to the store to choose their special set of underwear. Create a positive mindset on it so that it doesn’t feel like it’s something they have to do, but rather something they want to do. Let them do it for THEM and not for YOU.
Alternatively, if you have a stubborn potty trainer, work out a system that works for your child. Perhaps, tell them that the money from the bag of nappies you would have used can instead go towards a special toy or experience they have been begging for once you get to the end of the month/end of their reward chart. It is a huge deal for them. And if you were going to be spending that money on nappies, you can put it towards a special reward.
In closing, I really did just feel that this is the perfect time of the year, for the families who are in the Summer countries. It worked for us, however, it may not work for you. But it is a length process, one that you all need to be 100% on the same page for. Be persistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is all new to your child. They’ve been in nappies since Day 1, and it’s a bit scary for them. But, the day will come where you will see why it was worth the process.
I have to add – a week after Olly stopped day time nappies, he wasn’t interested in wearing them AT ALL! We just don’t allow him to drink fluids half an hour before bedtime, and he goes to the loo before he goes to sleep. The only two times in about 5 months that he has wet the bed, was when we had come home at night from being out and he was already asleep and we didn’t wake him to use the loo! Totally our own fault.
It can be done, and it can be a fun and exciting transition for the entire family!
I would love to hear your potty training success stories, and I would also love to be entertained by some funny potty training fails! So please do share your stories!!! I have a prize for the best tip or story as long as you are a South African resident! But, don’t let it stop you sharing your stories if you don’t!
*Note: You DO have to SUBSCRIBE in order to enter – which is super easy peasy to do! And then you won’t miss out on a thing! It will also be the only way you will be notified if you are the winner.
*On a side note: DO buy a couple pairs of nappies that have some toweling. Shown in the photos are a pair that I purchased about a year ago. They are great for any little drips.
Photos by @criene_images
Top two photos: Melissa Van Riel