Disclaimer: This post has no photos of children sitting on potties, toilets or anything else. If you’re reading this, you’ll be seeing enough of that without those kinds of photos.
We started potty training Ben when he was about 2 and a half. It was half term, so I had a few days at home with him. He seemed to be ready – he mostly knew when he needed to go – and I was sick of changing nappies. Potties seemed and pants seemed preferable. For a few days.
I spent a few days more or less at home, but we took trips out, just making sure we took a potty and several changes of clothes. After three days, we took a trip to Skipton for Tim’s birthday. I was so worried about an accident in the car, but he was fine. He used the potty, and did have one accident in a little charity shop. The shop keeper was so kind, and let us use the staff bathroom to change him.
After 5 days in pants, with lots of accidents, Ben went back to nursery. On his first day, he had 5 accidents. The nursery staff were absolutely brilliant, and said it was completely normal.
Over the following week, the accidents got fewer and fewer. The little ‘packages’ of dirty pants and trousers became limited to one, or none, a day. We rewarded Ben with toys that he had wanted for ages – a Cranky the Crane for his trainset for his first completely dry day – and chocolate buttons when he needed motivation to use the potty.
After about 2 weeks, Ben was reliable for wees. Poos took a bit longer, but I’m told that’s absolutely normal. Within 4 weeks he was done. Incredibly, he was dry at night too. We’ve moved on from nappies!
I can’t pretend that those 4 weeks were the most pleasant of my life, and there was a lot of laundry. These products made my life a lot easier.
1. Lots of pants
Ideally, you need pants with favourite characters on them – we had Thomas the Tank Engine, Fireman Sam, The Gruffalo, and a few spares. I think we needed about 20 pairs. Not kidding.
You need one for each bathroom in the house. Don’t try to carry the upstairs potty downstairs or vice versa – you won’t make it. Get two (or more).
3. A Potette portable potty
This was a life-saver as for ages Ben refused to sit on a proper toilet. The portable potty can be used out and about, and will sit on a proper toilet to make a child’s seat.
4. Trousers that can be easily removed (by the child)
One of the things that we found Ben was struggling with at nursery was taking his trousers down. A quick trip to Asda for some jogging bottoms solved the problem.
For the first few weeks, the laundry is not pleasant. I stocked up on this when it was half price, and I’m so glad I did. A capful or two in the wash and you’re sure all the nasties have gone.
Once Ben had got rid of nappies during the day, he wanted something different at night. For him, there was a big difference between a nappy and a pull-up, and I wonder if this helped him crack the night-time training.
7. Bed Mats
We’ve only used one of these, as Ben hasn’t ever wet the bed at night. But I’m sure they will give us peace of mind while were away at someone else’s home.
I was dreading potty training, and honestly, it’s not the best part of parenting, but these things really made a difference. Especially, I have to say, and this is not a sponsored post or anything like that, but the Dettol Laundry Cleanser really gave me peace of mind about washing dirty clothes.
Like with most aspects of parenting, when you first start a new stage, it’s really stressful. You find yourself thinking, “I can’t cope with this.” Thinking about your child using the toilet or potty all the time is overwhelming. It was the same with weaning, or sleep-training, or early morning waking. Then you and your child get used to it, and it gets better. Within a few weeks, you’re hardly thinking about it at all.
One of the unforeseen positives of potty training is that it eliminates the need for a change bag. So I’ll be shopping for a new fancy handbag next! Although, there will still be a spare pair of little boy’s pants tucked in it somewhere.