The responsibilities that come with creating your own human is crazy. Right from the word go. We grow them, not just in the womb but beyond. As a parent we are responsible for how they speak, whether they speak one or two languages. We are responsible for teaching them to smile, to stick out their tongues, to play, to sit and crawl, to take those first steps. To learn to use the toilet independently, to teach colours, numbers, how to dress and to go to school. From that very first positive pregnancy test we become responsible for another persons life for the rest of our lives. Even into adulthood.
I blinked and P2 went from being that chubby, bald, healthy baby in our arms to this independent, hilarious and mischievous toddler. Suddenly we’ve been thrown into the deep end of potty training. Her choice not mine. Thankfully Huggies have been on hand to help with our journey into childhood.
When will he/she be ready?
Scientifically, research says that a child’s bladder capacity increases drastically between 2-3years old. However, just because your child has maybe reached this age, it doesn’t mean they are ready. Some may be ready before or much later. P1 for example was potty trained at 3 years and 4 months old, whereas P2 started at 23 months!
Huggies have put together 8 useful hints to know when your child may be ready to potty train:
We’re recommended to wait until they are showing at least three of the signs before even contemplating to start potty training. P1 was able to fully communicate and understand by the time we started, she was able to pull up her own trousers and was beginning to dress herself, she would always be regular with her bowel movements, so I knew she was ready. P2 has been quite different. She’s younger and she is able to communicate her needs with speech, however, she hasn’t taken to pulling up and down her knickers as well as her big sister and she hasn’t been one of those children that are always whipping off their nappies. She’s also never asked to go or to be changed. For a long time she let us know when she was doing a poo, but nothing else. Just after Christmas my Great-Grandad came round to exchange Christmas presents and one of them was some Frozen knickers and she was instantly desperate to wear knickers like her sister!
What will I need?
A Potty or special over-the-toilet toddler seat – preferably with a removable inner part as this makes cleaning much easier. I know there’s a method to teach the child to go straight onto the toilet, we did with P1 so I think this decision is completely up to you. P1 used a special seat with a ladder attached as she was/is so tiny that she just couldn’t get on the loo even with a step. Also with her hypermobility, she found spreading her legs over the classic style potty to be so uncomfortable. To begin with she used a chair potty, the same one that P2 is now using.
Pull-Ups – I only use these for day naps and trips out. Huggies swear by them as they are very thin and have a wetness indicator. I absolutely love their stunning designs for boys and girls. P2 finds wearing them quite exciting. The main feature I love from the day pull-ups is the way it keeps them feeling slightly damp, making it a not so fantastic experience which is unlike a nappy that absorbs fast. Huggies do a special night time pull-up too which gives extra absorbency to give a peaceful night sleep for all.
Wipes – Always have wipes close to the potty or toilet. They are more gently on your child’s skin and will make cleaning up poop much simpler.
Bed Mats – I didn’t use these for P1. To this date, since deciding to potty train her, she’s never had a night accident. I feel extremely lucky, although I did still put her in a night pull-up for months and months after she was dry during the day. I think I did this because I hate the idea of having to change bed sheets in the early hours. P2 is very different, we have the difficulty that she uses milk as her comfort and therefore at night she wets heavily! Her night time is going to take quite a while and I’m glad we have the Huggies Bed Mats to protect the bed from accidents. They are designed to go over and under the mattress, under the bed sheet, but I think I’ll be putting it over the top to start with.
Knickers/Pants – Get lots! I mean, loads! Trust me, you can never ever have too many. We went through the said pack of knickers within two hours the first day.
Rewards – It’s rare you’ll go wrong with a bribe. Whether you choose to give a tiny sweet, a grape or use a healthier sticker chart like the one Huggies provided to us. It’s a great visual for both parent and child to see progress.
How do I potty train?
I honestly don’t think there’s a specific way to do this. I do know that shouting and getting angry about accidents, which are inevitable, is the wrong way to go about things. It creates upset for no reason for everyone. Be prepared for many many accidents, especially in the first week or so and even beyond that. Obviously, as your child learns to go the accidents will fizzle out until you have your independent child!
Warm weather really helps, mainly because your child will be able to get away with running around half naked and not getting freezing. I don’t dare to ask hubby what our heating bill is this month. P2 has spent the past four weeks with her bottom out at home the poor girl but it means she has been able to take herself to the potty.
Definitely have the potty out for your child to see months before you plan to start potty training. This will help them to feel comfortable about it, you may even get asked to use it occasionally. I always take the girls in the loo with me and I will always talk about what I’m doing for example “Mummy is going for a wee/poo (cringe)” or “I’m wiping my bottom” and “I’m pulling my knickers up now and we’ll wash our hands”. It helps them to see what you are expecting of them. You certainly can’t expect a child to know what to do if they’ve never witnessed it themselves. Make sure when you go, you take your child and let them try too even if they don’t physically go, praise praise praise!
I’m awful at repeating. I feel like I’m spending my life asking if P2 needs the loo. I even do it to P1 when we’re out. Poor things. Gradually your child will learn what it feels like to have a full bladder and when the answer needs to be yes.
What about leaving the house?
I haven’t personally got to this stage with P2 yet, but I don’t remember P1 being too much trouble. I’m just absolutely terrified of accidents. P2 has just started to actually let us know that she needs to go to the loo and has actually asked and been several times when we’ve been out which is superb. But she’s been wearing a Huggies Pull-Up. We need to be brave. Pack a rucksack worth of fresh outfits that you can leave in the car, or add a few extra outfits to your changing bag. Don’t get angry if your child wets themselves in the middle of the supermarket. I know that’s hard!
What about night time?
P2 is a heavy wetter. I mentioned above. It is going to be a long time before she’s dry at night and we have to conquer the milk situation first. Make sure they have a drink a good length of time before bed. Make a trip to the toilet or potty the last thing they do. I leave the potty in her bedroom at night with a night light just in case, but not once has she asked to go yet. Use the bed mats to make things less stressful when accidents happen. Night time will most likely be the very last thing that gets ticked off on the checklist for potty training.
At the end of the day, we all use the toilet. Do you have any useful tips for potty training? Certainly head over to Huggies potty training website, I found so much information and advice!