Yes, I am referring to the delight that is toilet training. Have to say again, I wasn’t prepared for this joyful part of my eldest’s development (definitely sounding like the worlds most unprepared mother again), where yet again I underestimated how crap it is… you think nappies are bad… think again!
Kidlet number 1 is pretty switched on and your typical feisty little toddler… getting her to do something she doesn’t want to do… well you just don’t. We read the books, consulted friends and family, surfed the web for tips… and I thought I would share our experiences
- Wait until they are ready or showing signs of being ready… Kidlet 1 started ripping nappy off, flinging sh*t everywhere then running off with sh*t all over bum… she then graduated to sitting on her potty fully clothed in front of Frozen… I took that as she was ready.
- Involve them and explain what is happening – purchase underwear and allow them to explore said underwear so they are prepared… Mayhem ensued in Sainsbury’s as packs of Elsa and Peppa Pig knickers are opened and thrown around the clothing department. Yep… check. One point of note – buy cheap… as if you like me, have had to cut them off to avoid sh*t flying everywhere, its probably the best way to deal with it rather than copious amounts of vanish or bleach buckets situated round the house…
- Introduce them slowly to the Potty…one example is to put them on the Potty for a period of 5 minutes every 20 minutes, it is preferable at this stage to leave underwear off so they can feel the sensation of being wet. After 5 minutes of not wearing anything on the bottom half kidlet 1 has sat on the potty dutifully as instructed. But has pissed on the floor, on the sofa and in the kitchen when not sat on it. Not only that the Amazon delivery driver turned up at the wrong moment and was confronted with a naked from the waist down toddler, as mummy was trying to put her boob away from the last feed with number 2. Being wet… yes we conquered that.
- Understand and read their body language and signals… Ask the child if they need the toilet if they start to display body language that suggests they need the toilet, trust them in what they say as they need to feel confident in their abilities… We are in a carpet shop trying to make a decision over what to put in the kitchen (note potty train before you put your nice new carpet down), when kidlet 1 disappears to the furthest corner of the shop and hides behind the mattresses. Mummy recognizing this is defcon 2 sprints after with the porta potty to try and prevent a big dump appearing behind the super sprung. Mummy finds kidlet and coaxes out of position into the open with jammy dodger biscuits… so as not to startle kidlet 1, Mummy keeps shoving biscuits into her mouth whilst using other hand to flick the dump she has started to work on into the Potette. 15 minutes, leg cramp and 4 jammy dodger biscuits later… she finishes. Probably the biggest and stinkest dump in the world.
- Accidents, Regression and just generally sh*t happens… you have to appreciate that accidents will happen as toddlers often forget they have to go to the toilet. Yep getting caught up in something fun, playing with pals, enjoying a TV programme or just sleeping all cause for accidents. So you generally have to take several changes of clothes wherever you go. One example was a day trip to the Butlins swimming pool… one hour of playing on the arcade later… Daddy deposited one child at my feet and advises me we have a problem. All I can say is thank god I had a spare swimming costume as the Elsa one went to sh*t.
We still have the odd issue – like when her little sister started nursery she began a week of dirty protests (I really don’t know where she gets it from). But overall we are getting there. I just wanted to share my story (sorry if you were eating) because not many people actually tell you what it can be really like…
Top tips from me…
- A potette or porta-potty… a wonderful wonderful invention. Great for the ‘I need a wee’ when you have just left the shopping center, zoo, park, house…
- Always, always, always have nappy bags… to chuck in any messes you might want to salvage or not
- Spare clothes… one outfit / two lots of bottoms if you can
- Spare top for mummy (in case you end up being involved in said accident)
- Scissors – to cut off offending underwear (at the sides) if its a particularly bad accident
- Wipes (obviously)
- Access to chocolate, coffee or even better booze… coz Mummy will need it to bring down the blood pressure
- And try not to put your potty on a nice white carpet or new flooring – sounds silly but they miss… and sometimes walk around dripping… it is not pleasant
Most important of all – bags and bags of praise. This is a time which, whilst it isn’t pleasant for us sh*t clearer-uppers, our kidlets look to us for the confidence boost…We have a ‘pooh pooh in the potty song’ and a reward chart which worked wonders at home and at nursery.
I found when she could see she was doing well, and we tell her she is doing a good job (!) she wants to do it again and to please us (or wrestle the potty full of pooh off mummy so she can show everyone what a great job she has done… again no idea?!).
What I will say though, the one thing I have learned is to chill – as with anything it is a process, it takes time, it does not happen in a day, a week or a month.Every child is different, so don’t get suckered by people (or books) who say they have mastered it – they haven’t.
And ALWAYS wash your hands after… I didn’t once.. it was not good.