Potty Training is one of those things that has to be done and most people dread it. We had such an amazing positive experience with potty training Lily that I wanted to share it in the hope that our “stress free potty training” method would help someone else on their potty training journey.
We started thinking about potty training Lily when she was 18 months old. Lily always responds well to things if they are made part of a game; so we made potty training no exception; children do learn mostly through play after all. I went out with Lily and explained that we were going to begin potty training soon so that she could use a toilet eventually like a big girl. Lily loved the shopping trip and helped choose a potty, a travel potty & big girl knickers. We also bought Lily an interactive doll with a potty training function so that she could see the doll doing a wee on the potty and then getting a sticker or a treat and hopefully want to do the same!
Although we started our potty training journey early, we were very relaxed about the process and were certainly in no rush to finish. In the end, Lily did really well and was completely dry by her 2nd Birthday. I think a key part of that is that we knew Lily was ready to start potty training.
SIGNS YOUR CHILD IS READY TO START POTTY TRAINING:
Pulling or tugging at a wet nappy
Hiding to wee or poo
Interest in the toilet use of others
Having a dry nappy for long periods
Waking dry from a nap
Telling you that they are about to go to the toilet, or letting you know they have been
THE HAPPY MUMMY STRESS FREE POTTY TRAINING METHOD:
I gave Lily a drink of water then left Lily’s potty out in the living room so that she had access to it whenever she wanted. I also switched Lily from nappies to pull ups so that she was free to pull them up and down and sit on and off the potty as often as she wanted. Lily loves to copy and Lily loves a little treat so I used both of these traits to my advantage! I sat Lily’s doll on the toy potty and gave her a drink; this then made the doll wee. I then gave the doll a chocolate button. Lily immediately decided she wanted to give it a try, so I sat her on the potty and miraculously she did a wee! I gave Lily a chocolate button as a treat and we also made up a little song and dance that we ended up doing every time she used the potty! I left both the toy potty and real potty in the living room and occasionally from that day Lily would use it; but her doll used her daily!
At 22 months Lily just woke up one day and said “no nappy”. I had read a lot of books about potty training and how you could train in 3 days; mainly by staying in every day. We had a busy week planned and I didn’t want Lily & I to be stuck at home, but I also didn’t want to curb her enthusiasm. I said to Lily you can wear your knickers today and tell mummy when you want a wee. As we were going out and about I put a pull up training pant over the top of her knickers; this meant that if she did have an accident I could just clean her up and change her knickers rather than changing her whole outfit and it also meant that our stroller and car seat would stay dry!
I made sure I took Lily to the toilet every 30 minutes, but nonetheless we had a few accidents. The beauty of putting the training pants over the knickers was that Lily could still feel the sensation when she had an accident but we were still able to go out and about and I didn’t have a ton of trousers to wash just knickers! I wasn’t worried about the accidents as I knew that they are bound to happen and are a natural part of the learning process. I didn’t tell Lily off for them; as I feel this would have set back her progress. I just simply said “let’s try and do that in the potty next time” and moved on. I knew that Lily truly can’t help the accidents they were simply part of learning – I wouldn’t have dreamed of telling Lily off for falling over while learning to walk and I saw this as no different!
Over the next couple of months I noticed that the time between Lily’s toilet breaks was increasing and she was having a just a few accidents! Eventually, just before Lily’s 2nd Birthday we had a week with no accidents & so I decided to take the plunge and remove the training pants. Since then Lily has had 2 accidents in the last 2 and a half years so not bad going at all!
I know there is a lot of hype and pressure to Potty Train in 3 days and use that method but I genuinely feel that we don’t learn to walk in three days why should we be pressured into learning how to go to the toilet in three days? When we learn to walk we first gain balance over a period of months, steadying ourselves on the furniture before finally taking the big leap into our first steps. Even from those first steps we toddle about and fall over for a good couple of months. To me this gives us an idea of how our muscles learn and develop and that trying to learn a new muscle memory in just 3 days is too much of a tall order and that having that mind set and that expectation could set both us and our child up for unnecessary stress.
If you are looking for a stress free approach to potty training then I cannot recommend the Happy Mummy approach enough:
- Buy a Potty, Travel Potty, knickers and training pants plus an interactive doll
- Introduce the idea of Potty Training ahead of starting
- Make a huge big deal of it when your child does a wee on the Potty
- Put training pants on over knickers to minimise mess from accidents
- Take your time
I hope these tips help to alleviate the stress and pressure of your potty training journey.
This post is in Collaboration with Mother Hen Club – a community for Mums providing everything from Support Classes and Retreats to Coffee Clubs. You can follow Mother Hen Club on Facebook and Instagram.