Monday, August 19, 2013

Potty Training Adventures

Lately, E has started telling us when he's wanted his nappy changed. If he comes up handling his nappy and announces either 'wet!' or 'bum!' we know it's time to get our little guy all fresh and clean again. Earlier the other week, he even took it one step further and begged us 'Bath! Bath!' when there had been a particularly messy moment. As a first-time mum, this was one of those moments where I felt a bit out of my depth. I Googled at least five different articles on good potty training advice, and spent an hour online and two trips to the stores deciding on what system would work best. Just a potty? A potty chair? An all-singing-all-dancing three-in-one system that becomes a potty, a toilet training seat, and a step stool? And then there were the pants! Regular little boy pants? Trainer pants? Disposables like Pull-Ups? Or just keep taking off his nappy until he's a bit more reliable? Even just those two variables left me drowning in options. In the end, it was time for an informal, but ever-helpful, Rory Gilmore Pro/Con list.

All options available at (and images from) Mothercare

During this first week, I won't be potty training in earnest. E now has 3 pairs of washable training pants that we'll start wearing next week, when things are so sedate that our schedule is practically comatose. For now, we're just getting him used to the idea of sitting on the potty, seeing it in the house, and properly putting him on it for a go whenever one of us needs to head to the bathroom.

Day 1:

Bought E his potty after a bit of research online. Of course, when we got to the store, he only had eyes for the Thomas the Tank Engine potty chair. I feel like both of us are so grown up when I consider that we're already at the stage where I have to think about what cartoon characters are on the products I buy for my son.

He loved seeing 'train' on his potty so much that he had to be allowed to keep it on his lap for the rest of our trip out that morning. He was loathe to say goodbye to it even to go to his best friend's birthday party or to go to sleep that night. As the Husband said, at least we found one that he's taken to so well that he'll want to use it.

Day 2:

We've had our first success. After three previous attempts to sit on the potty after a soiled nappy, the potty has officially been christened. Of course, right now, this is all down to timing on my part, but I still had to tell E how proud I was that he managed to be a big boy.

Today has gone over well. We seem to have a 4/6 success rate for making it to the potty rather than using a nappy. It may be premature, but I'm feeling optimistic about this process so far.

Day 3:

I was feeling slightly less optimistic today. Still no heavy-duty use of the potty and only two trips that resulted in emptying the bowl. But still: it's early days and since this week is just for getting used to potty protocol, the occasional damp nappy is still okay.

Day 4:

Success! Not only was today the first time that E told me in advance that he needed to use the potty, he also managed to deposit the better part of one solid load into the potty rather than into his nappy! I'm actually ridiculously proud of that right now. We made an attempt to just hold him on a normal toilet while we were out running errands, but he didn't need to go in the end. Luckily, though, he's not scared of the big potty because he seems to understand that when I say, 'Don't worry, I've got you; I'm holding you,' he's safe and won't fall in. I want to always find a time to put him on a normal-sized toilet so we don't have to re-train him once he's too big for his 'train potty'.

Day 5:

Another good day. All 'business' was completed in the potty. In light of the good record from the rest of the week, we decided to try the pants early. If it hadn't been for a slight misfire during one session on the potty, we'd have made it with one pair of pants for the whole day!

Day 6:

Here was our first day heading out. With pants on again, we headed to our nephew's birthday party and brought the potty along for an overnight trip with the Husband's parents. Having had less to drink, E didn't need the potty as much, but at the time it was still a bit difficult to trust that he wasn't just preoccupied. Another accident-free day, though!

Day 7:

Another day out, another day in pants. We were at church in Reading for another family gathering. Not only were trips to the potty successful, we even had a go on a normal-sized toilet with a hinged training seat. By this point, we've made it through four car trips and an overnight stay away from home, all accident-free. Looks like a promising start!

So that's our first week of potty training! If there are any major, share-worthy developments, I'll be sure to update you. For now, though, this is what I seem to notice has helped us:

-NHS tips
-BabyCentre tips
-E responds well when we, ahem, 'have a go' right alongside him. Plus, it's convenient to take him along if I have to go anyway.
-Mothercare training pants
-At this stage, anything more than a wee still resorts to the wet wipes to clean up.
-High fives and lots of positive reinforcement seem to be helping to get the message across that potty>wetting yourself. I've heard of picture books to help get the idea across as well as sticker charts or sweeties for incentive. Anyone have experience in these areas? Success/horror stories of your own? A general aversion to awkward parent talk about toilet business? I'd love to hear it in the comments!


  1. Good luck!! Sounds like things are moving in the right direction! One of my boys was super easy to train and the other not so much!!!

    1. Thanks, Kim! We're hoping it continues this easy. Of course, I'm sure he's now given us unrealistic expectations for our next son to meet when it's his turn to be potty trained! Ah well, everyone's different. :)