I’ve been putting it off for months now, but it would seem that the time has come to get started with potty training.
Well, Nerys has basically started without me. The thing is, I think she had been telling me she was ready to do it, but I wasn’t really listening.
It all started when I was in the shower a few mornings ago and she came to tell me she’d done a wee.
So I tried to keep my voice calm as I cautiously asked her where she had done the wee, and she very proudly replied that she’d done it on the potty. And sure enough, she’d taken it upon herself to go on the potty when she needed a wee.
And for the rest of the day she did the same thing.
And the day after.
The day after that her cousins came to visit and it was all too much fun, so the potty got mainly forgotten, and today she’s out with her grandparents so will most likely not ask to find a toilet when they’re out. But I’m really curious to see what happens next week when we’ve not got much planned and I can focus on quietly encouraging her to keep going on the potty.
See, I’m quite laid back about potty training this time round.
There’s no great hurry for her to do it, and I remember how stressful it got at times when I was almost pushing Rhys to ‘get’ it when he was younger.
I learnt some key things from potty training him, which have stuck with me as I started to think about doing it with Nerys:
- What until they’re ready. Honestly, this has been my number one bit of advice up till now. You can try potty training a child who’s not ready, but it will most likely be miserable for both of you. Like all things, children learn to use the toilet in their own time. Some are all sorted before they’re even two (which quite frankly is amazing to me!), but some take a lot longer to crack it. The best thing you can do is not stress about potty training and find the right time for your child and your family to start the process.
- Keep it relaxed. Now, this kind of goes hand in hand with my first point, because I know how hard it is to keep relaxed about the fact that you’ve just cleaned up the 8th accident of the day! But it’s so important that you don’t make potty training a stressful experience for your child. And if you wait until they’re really ready, then I honestly think you won’t have as many accidents anyway, so it shouldn’t be all that stressful!
- Go with what works for you and your child. I didn’t use sticker charts with Rhys, because his issue wasn’t that he was resistant to using the potty, he just genuinely didn’t realise he needed to wee. So for us, in the end, just waiting was the right thing to do. For some children though, who know when they need to go, but are resisting sitting on the potty or the toilet, then sticker charts might work a treat! Or, hey, literally give them a treat every time they go! You know your child best, so find the method that works for you both, it might even be the promise of getting to wash their hands each time they go!
The number one thing I’ve learned in the process of potty training my daughter though, is how important it is to listen to what they’re telling you, and make sure you’re interpreting it right.
Nerys for the last few weeks has started saying, in an almost panicked voice, “I’m starting to wee!”
So I’ve been reassuring her that it’s ok, she’s wearing pull ups, it doesn’t matter. Because I didn’t want her getting stressed by the idea of potty training, or having accidents.
What I’ve realised in the last few days though, is that what she actually means when she says this is, “I need a wee”
So she’ll suddenly blurt out, “I’m starting to wee”, but will actually then be able to make it all the way upstairs to the potty and calmly take her pull ups off, before she actually starts to wee.
Honestly, it was a bit of a revelation when I realised this!
She’d been trying to tell me for weeks that she wanted to use the potty, and that she knew she needed to go. But because of the way she phrased it, I didn’t realise.
So, my newest, number one tip for parents thinking about potty training, is to pay attention to what your child is telling you, and don’t jump to conclusions about what they mean when they say something other than “I need a wee!”.