Poop! Who would have thought that there would be anything more gross than changing a newborns nappy with their ever changing colour spectrum of delightful deposits? Well get ready for potty training!
So just as you think you’ve got a handle on the nappy changing lark, everything seems to start ‘firming up’ and you start to feel the pressure either from society – “is yours still in nappies? Teddy has been dry for 6 months”🤬… or as in my case, necessity forces you (Wilba kept taking hers off and depositing them around the house) to leave the relative safety of nappies and embark on the carpet soiling, potty carrying and emergency lay-by realms of potty training!
Now I’m no specialist, I hold no diplomas or awards, just my opinion and how that changed with baby number two!
Method Baby No 1.
For the Boy we had planned everything. I work as a teacher so we had decide to start during the summer (when I was at home) when he was a few months shy of his 3rd birthday. We had bought pull-up pants, designed and printed a sticker chart, read through poo books, bought a musical potty and two travel potty’s, ordered fancy ‘kandoo‘ wipes and expensive waterproof bed protectors, and had a structured plan of how we were going to do it and what would happen if our little treasure did occasionally have an accident! With the power of hindsight and time-travel I’d be laughing my head-off at ‘first child me’ whilst reminding them not to buy that lovely new beige carpet until they were at least 16.
The potty chart lasted all of two weeks mostly because the last thing you need to do when trying to leave the house in a rush I find the stickers which have gone walkabout, cue screaming child with a hand drawn smiley face where the stickers should have been. The pull-ups were just confusing for us and for him, if he wet them did we tell him off after 2 years of happily weeing in his nappy unchallenged or thank our lucky stars we didn’t have to change his entire outfit for the 5th time that day. And how did we distinguish from the night-time routine? Considering how closely they resemble a normal nappy, there’s no amount of “these are big boy nappies/pants” that would convince him as apart from the elastic, ultimately they are the same thing!
It was a disaster and there were tears, tantrums (mostly from Andy 😂) and two very stressed out parents. So what did we do different the second time round?
First of all we resigned ourselves to the fact there were going to be accidents with wee and poo in pants and down legs. Sometimes it became a game of hide and seek as the odd little parcel would be found behind a sofa or under the table (even toddlers like privacy when they go). So try to keep your cool and have the rubber gloves and wipes at the ready and maybe think of getting that beige carpet next year!
We went straight to pants this time and made a big deal about Wilba picking some really nice Peppa Pig ones and called them her big girl pants. The pull-ups are frankly confusing for everyone involved! We only used the pull-up kind at night and still encouraged her to go for a wee before bed.
3) Portable Potty
This will be your best friend and also worst nightmare, mostly because after they have done their businesses you’ve got to find somewhere for it to go! I’ve done emergency potty’s in the window of Next, the town market, the library and more down the A11 than I would care to remember! But don’t forget everyone is in the same boat and don’t be embarrassed as that shop assistant would rather you pull out a potty than have to call Sharon to get the mop and bucket!
4) Good Routines
Although we banished the sticker charts we did emphasise the washing and drying hands routine a lot more with Wilba and got some special plunger soap to use. There’s nothing a 2 year old likes more than a Dyson Airblade when your out and about too. Positive reinforcement of the routines seemed to encourage her to go when she needed to rather than the boy who seemed just too lazy after the novelty of the stickers wore off. Remember to check your surroundings for the nearest loo so you know just where to run to when they need to go!
There is the temptation that when you leave the relative safety of the home to visit a friend or shop to just shove a nappy on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you can’t have the odd nappy day, especially when they need to nap whilst your driving somewhere. But if you want to do this relatively quickly you must in my opinion fully commit to pants even when out and about. If you’re near a loo always take them in to see if they need to go, I use to pretend I needed it (which after two 8-pounders was usually true). You’ll get good at recognising that tell tale wiggle or unnatural ‘quietness’!
You don’t need to go overboard but these few items made potty training a little easier second-time around:
potty/travel potty, mini toilet seat insert (for little bums), character pants/knickers and spare clothes.
Let me know how you get on, and don’t forget… for every accident that might happen, you’ve saved loads of money on nappies 🙂