Exactly three weeks ago, I published a post about how we were preparing to potty train our toddler. Three weeks on, I thought it might be nice to share how we’ve all been getting on, and what I’ve learned about potty training a toddler.
On day one, we decided to start by having M naked from the waist down. We live in a townhouse, with toilets on the ground and top floors. We had bought three potties in advance, and asked M to decide where she wanted to put each one. Of course she placed her potties, then promptly did a wee all over the floor!
At this point I was wondering if we’d made a horrible mistake, but we decided that it was unrealistic to expect her to magically be potty trained without any accidents at all.
Fortunately, by the end of day one, M was experiencing around 50% success in the potty. Even more fortunately, we’d had lovely weather, so most of the accidents happened in the garden!
Day two started really positively. So positively, that knickers were introduced in the afternoon. I think this was a mistake. Mainly because the end of day two and day three, resulted in significantly more wee on the floor than on the potty. By the end of day three I was almost certain that we’d tried to push M into potty training too early. But I’m stubborn, so we weren’t going to give up!
I made sure that there was a shower curtain down on the floor in the living room, to catch any accidents and save me having to scrub the carpets quite so much!
The rest of week one was very up and down. Day four saw some improvement, but the remainder of the week went downhill as M seemed to think that using the potty was optional. By Wednesday, I was almost ready to give up, especially as M was due to start preschool on the Friday.
Instead, I decided to have a frank conversation with M. I asked her if she wanted to continue with potty training, or go back to nappies. At first, she said she wanted to go back to nappies as she wanted to go out for the day (we had been staying close to home in case of accidents!). However, I explained that we weren’t going to be swapping between knickers and nappies, and that choosing nappies that day, would mean choosing nappies for at least the next couple of weeks. Which would mean nappies, not knickers, at preschool.
At this point M was very clear about the fact that she wanted to wear knickers to nursery. So I gently explained that if she wanted to wear knickers, she needed to try harder to wee in the potty (fortunately we’ve never had an issue with her not doing poos in the potty!). This chat definitely gave M a new sense of resolve going into week two.
For week two, we both refocused our efforts on potty training. Matthew was back at work after the Easter break, which I think made things a little easier as we had a renewed sense of routine. I started writing down when M had successfully gone in the potty and when she’d had an accident, partly in the hope that we’d see some progress, and partly so we could show off to Matthew what a great day she’d had, when he got home from work.
I also piled on the praise whenever M successfully went in the potty. I focused the praise specifically on congratulating M on listening to her body. When M used the potty, I gave her the responsibility of emptying it into the toilet herself, pressing the flush, and we’d call, “bye bye, wee wee!” We then had a competition to see who could make the most bubbles when washing our hands.
I think all of these things combined helped M to feel more positive about using the potty, and by the end of the second week, she’d pretty much cracked it.
Week three has mostly been about progressing the type of clothing that M can wear. M spent week two wearing leggings and a top, to make it as easy as possible to pull her bottoms down to sit on the potty. But M is a lover of dresses, so we’ve gradually moved to wearing dresses with leggings. M has even progressed to wearing leggings with tights successfully. Although it is worth noting that wearing a pair of leggings that were a bit too small caused M to have an accident, as she simply couldn’t pull them down quickly enough by herself.
This week, I’ve been really impressed by M’s attitude to the potty. She is able to recognise when she needs to use the potty, and will take herself off to one independently. Accidents are reduced to around one every other day, and these usually occur on the way to the potty. Even the preschool staff have commented on how good M is at taking herself to the potty, and couldn’t believe it yesterday when I told them that we’d only started potty training less than three weeks ago.
M’s confidence with the potty has meant that I’ve also been happy to venture out in the car, and we’ve had a couple of proper trips out. I bought a Potette Plus, and M loves the novelty of using it when we go out.
Overall, I’m really proud of the way that M has handled potty training. We’re not accident-free yet, but we’re certainly on the way. The next step now is to help M to transition from the potty to the toilet. She’s doing so well, I think she’ll take it all in her stride!
How did your little one get one with potty training? Leave me a comment to let me know! And of course, please leave a comment if you have any questions about our potty training experience.