So you've decided to potty train? I want to firstly say & stress that I am just a Mum of 3 sharing hints & tips. If you have worries & concerns seek advice from your MCHN or medical professional. These are handy things that have worked for my family. Each child is unique & what was amazing for mine may be a nightmare for yours! So pls. take each tip with a grain of salt.
If you know you plan to potty train soon it’s a good idea to get your toddler interested in going to the toilet. Encourage them to accompany you when you need to go, let them take a peek once you’re done so they can see it’s normal & not scary, explain what’s happening “Mummy is sitting down to pee. All done now Mummy wipes & undies back up” etc.. let them flush for you & wash your hands together. This is all good practice for them before learning the final step of actually going themselves.
COMMIT. Once you decide to potty train & you start the process commit to it.
Avoid stop-start training as it’s too confusing for your little one. We will only use nappies now at sleep time.
Dedicate a few days to stay home & get it done. I chose to potty train Stevie over Melbourne Cup long weekend. I had grandparents around to babysit my older two so I could dedicate all of my time to concentrate on Stevie. We spent the weekend together in the toy room watching Moana on repeat with the potty close by.
POTTY or toilet? Whatever you prefer & what best suits your child. We started off with the potty, then encouraged both & once Stevie was comfortable with the toilet I took away the potty. It lives in the car now!
UNDIES. Undies & again undies. Nappy off, undies on. Buy undies that will be particularly appealing to your toddler, their favourite colour, pretty patterns or in our case “Bluey” & “Frozen” were a hit. Stevie would sit in her undies on the couch, on a towel watching Moana while we waited for action.
Encourage extra drinking for extra wee. The more toilet trips early on the better, it becomes familiar & comfortable. I mixed juice into Stevie’s water knowing it’d be a novelty & she’d drink more.
PATIENCE. This one for me is a killer as I’m always in a hurry. But you just gotta wait. If you can sit them happily on the potty while you wait this is awesome, they won’t always be happy to sit for a while but early on while you wait for pee if they’re already on the potty it’s great.
I totally used lollipops on day 1 to get Stevie to sit on the potty. #briberyatitsbest
ACCIDENTS aren’t a big deal, don’t make it one. “Oh Stevie you peed in your undies? That’s Ok Mummy will change them. Next time we’ll try to pee in the potty” Keep a clean-up-kit close by & on hand so you can quickly clean up no fuss. I had a basket nearby with a couple of small towels, baby wipes, nappy bags, a roll of toilet paper & heaps of spare undies.
SUCCESS. Celebrate every successful pee or poop in the potty. You will genuinely be thrilled for your toddler & they’ll feel so proud. Then the dots will slowly start to connect & they’ll understand the sensation of needing to go & making it to the toilet in time.
POOP can be so tricky. Expect it to take a little longer as they just don’t poop as often as they pee. Some toddlers who squat or stand to poop have never pooped sitting down before! So be extra patient with the poop. I knew the signs of when Stevie had to go so I’d sit her on the potty & wait & encourage her to poop there. We have had quite a tough time with the poop side & many a poop accident. How we finally got Stevie comfortable pooping on the toilet was with Stool softener bought from the pharmacy. Obviously talk to your GP or pharmacist before making this decision, it may not be best for your toddler. But for Stevie it was time, she was holding it in & it had become painful so we started her on a softener to take the pain & fear away. Once she could go with ease she happily sat on the toilet. But it did takes weeks of work on my end & over the top poop celebrations.
BE PREPARED. Once you brave the outside world again try to make life easier for your toddler. Stevie visits grandparents often so we’ve set them up with toilet training seats & a step stool. Keep a potty in the car for times you may be caught out & if you are making plans try to be sure the park for Eg. has a toilet. Pack plenty of spare clothes so you’re not caught out with nothing. Stash spare undies in the car, in your handbag etc.. Keep a clean-up kit in the car for if you’re ever out needing to clean up an accident you have wipes & all the usual things you’ll need. Carry something around with you to pop wet or soiled clothes in, a simple snap lock bag or other type of waterproof bag that can be sealed.
There are plenty of potty-training-travel-things you can buy so just have a look around or chat to a trusted friend.
I hope this list of tips has been helpful! Keep in mind each child is unique, they do things in their own time & potty training can’t be rushed so just have patience & persistence & you’ll get there in time.
Take care of yourselves Mama's you're doing an amazing job! Reach out anytime :)