Thursday, September 22, 2011

Potty training 1 - my thoughts and where we're at

I remember when I was still pregnant reading somewhere on a blog (if you know where this comes from, tell me so I can link up) that if you start potty training when they're 2, you train the whole year, but if you start when they're 3, you take 3 days.

Can you guess which of those options most appealed to me?

Of course you can.

I'm Mrs Impatience herself.

Also, I really don't like a mess and will happily (HAPPILY!) pay money for nappies instead of having a mess.

It really is no issue to me to change a million poo nappies daily. After a while it becomes part of life, right?

So I was planning to have the oldest non-potty trained kids around.

Next ...

Last year I went to the ToddlerSense seminar and the lady said a couple of things about potty training:

They will show you when they're ready (I agree) but from 18 months you should let them watch you use the toilet. No big issue but just let them see this is how these things happen.

Um, no thanks.

I enjoy my uninterruped time on the loo, thank you very much.

Apparently they'll start telling you they want to pee or poo and will then go in their nappies, or with poo, she said they often go behind a couch/ curtains, etc.

At this point you know they have the sensations down and can start letting them sit on the potty.

Another thing...

I don't like mess. Oh, I've said that already?

So my very loose plan was to get the potties that fit on top of the toilet so that with one flush, it's all gone and there are no additional things to clean.

Now, as we know, my kids like to do things in their own time (remember my plan to keep the babies in cots til 5? well, Connor was in a toddler bed at 20 months because of the climbing out) and so some time ago, they started taking an interest in toilets and such.

I often run in from the car when I get home from work straight to the loo and they follow me. Connor has said, "Mummy, wipe your bum".


I've had to tell him that we don't talk about bums to other people!!!

D asked Dr S what he thought the best time was to do the potty training.

Dr S said, "The best time to start is 2 years 3 months and then they'll definitely be potty trained by 3".

I don't know if that was supposed to be encouraging but 9 months is not my idea of a short time.

When we left his rooms I told D my 3-day potty training blog story :)

That's all the background.

What's actually been happening...

We'd already bought the potty in the pic above (doesn't K look adorable!) at about 21 - 22 months and D would ask them before baths on the weekend if they wanted to pee.

Connor was absolutely NOT interested but Kendra would happily sit for what seemed like hours on end, with no result ever.

One day about a month ago V told me Kendra's scared of the potty so we put it far, far away.

And then I happened to see a small plastic one on Sunday. It stands on the floor and the kids can lift the lid and sit like ours.

R29,99! (Julia, it doesn't fold down and is quite clumsy so I didn't get you one)

That's been standing in the bathroom and today when I got home, I checked The Notebook and V wrote, "Connor peed in the potty".

Can you believe it?!

Apparently all 3 of them were very excited, hurrayed and clapped hands.

I tried to have a conversation with Connor but he was not interested. Instead, he ran off to climb on things, shouting over his shoulder, "Connor peed in potty" as if it's nothing.

So that's where we are.

I have no plan whatsoever but if V's prepared to potty train them, then how can I object? ;)

I found this excellent post in my Reader yesterday with a free printable potty chart (I am a SUCKER for free printables!). And then I also saw one of my favourite blogs also had a potty training post. Have a read.

Oy, this was a lot longer than I intended. Somehow I lack the ability to keep things short.

What are your thoughts on potty training - long version or short version? Best time to do? When were your kids potty trained, etc, etc?

PS new post here


  1. I tried with my twins at 2 and a half. I waved my urine soaked white flag after one day (and 4 packs of underwear). I tried again at 2 and 3 quarters and they never had an accident, so one day. It is definitely pointless to try to force a non-ready kiddo to potty train. Just frustrating for everyone involved. :)

  2. That would (ahem) be someone like me...
    I just can't see the point of spending my life talking about the toilet constantly I would rather talk to my kids about everything else!!! I have had so many friends start too young and they spend their whole lives asking their kids if they need the bathroom - I have a feeling the mom's are really well trained.

    Not to mention there is nothing worse than being in the queue at the checkout with a toddler desperate for the bathroom and trust me there is never a bathroom in sight... three of mine hopped on a loo at about 2.5 and never looked back like it was just what you do! The others I just removed the diapers at age three - we can't buy them once our kids are three (and my kids totally get it, once you are three we just don't buy diapers anymore) within a day or two we are done with the whole event. Trained sorted and moving on.

    Also I have never bothered with baby paraphernalia in general, and frankly if my kid cannot manage the regular toilet then they aren't ready... I can hardly emulate the perfect potty environment "just like home" when I am out. And I never bother with rewards... I say well done and move on... but I had a friend who was producing m&m's and a little gift after so many "good jobs"... hello, welcome to life - no rewards for getting it in the toilet my friend!!!

    Blimey I sound so mean, but when they are ready you just don't need all the marketing traps - seriously your kids will get it when they are ready - everyone eventually does!!!

  3. I'm still waiting for the fairies to sprinkle magic pixie dust over my sleeping babies so they'll wake fully trained!

    We have the seats. I offer before baths, when I see them blatantly going, or if they have a dry diaper. They sit when they want. We've only had a few pee's in the potty, and one poo, and that's all I can report.

    I've let go and left it up to them to let me know what they need. No sense in getting myself worked up over it. Although I did cringe when a woman at work said her daughter was finally fully potty trained-AT 5.5 years old!!

  4. I've trained five kids now, I think I'll let Aaron deal with the twins.

    They are by no means ready at this point. In my experience, they need to be able to verbally tell you they have to go, and physically be able to get their clothes off and on, or it's too much of a pain in my ass.

  5. Potty training is my WORST. I really avoid it if I can :-p

    Cameron took a year to potty training - I kid you not - he was just over or under 2 I think but was not ready so his nanny took it slow - VEERY slow but once he was done he was done - night nappies the works.

    Kiara literally went from nappies to panties over night at almost 3 I think BUT in the day only - she had her night nappy for ages.

    Its one of those things you cant avoid and one of those things that does have some mess!


  6. We started potty training when she turned 2 and it took us 2 years to fully potty train our daughter. With my son, we also started on 2 years but it took us 3 months to potty train him. I really believe, out of my own experiences, that it depends from child to child. You can try with your two children. One might potty train faster than the other or they will both be equally fast.

  7. I think it's highly dependant on the child. Some of them are just more self aware from earlier on that others. Ava has been telling me from 16 months when she wants to/has made a poo.
    They started potty training at school 2 weeks ago and she has obviously seen the older ones in her class getting to sit on the loo, so she now also tells me that she wants to wee and go to the toilet. We are taking it slowly for now but I suspect we may be lucky with her.

  8. PS Kendra's been telling me from last year about making poos, esp. so they are aware but I still want to wait til they're more able :)

  9. Oj, so the Princess basically started potty training herself at 22 months. By 24 she was done. Slept dry about 6 months later. L was the first boy to show interest at about 27 months - we started. C took to it like a duck to water - about 2 months later he was trained and has been sleeping dry from 3 years. L - well, at almost 4 not yet. He is now in play therapy. It is a totally draining experience but closely related to his SID. We had a small break through this week.

    So my advice - do not try to train them at the same time - let them choose their time. Generally girls are better than boys at it. And the best advice I ever got - keep the night diapers on until you consistently find them dry in the morning. Otherwise you will change sheets forever. Neither C nor A have ever had wet sheets because I did this!

  10. Katherine10:55 am

    Well, Ava is fully potty-trained and she's 2 years 3 months. It literally took a week and in that week we had only 2 wee accidents and never a poo accident. She wees and poos on the normal toilet as I don't like to get them used to potties/special seats,etc as when you're out and about at the shops, other people's houses or school there are just normal toilets and the last thing you want is a) to be lugging a potty wherever you go or b) them to refuse to go when they need to because they don't have potty/seat/etc. Zoe was also done by the same age and she was done in about 2 days. Ava is even dry at night most nights although she does still sleep in a nappy at night but will probably start stopping that soon as she wakes upp if she needs to go at night. Nappies have always given me the complete creeps as I can't bear the thought of wee and poo next to their skin. What worked for me was to put them in panties and then for the first day or so you need to take them every 20 minutes or so until they do something (and I do use smarties as a reward but only in the first week or 2). They will then start to tell you when they need to go. Maybe I was just lucky but I found potty-training a complete non-invent and it was unbelievably easy with both girls. We recently went on holiday for 2 weeks (quite soon after Ava was potty trained) and she went on 4 plane trips, 4 x 3 hour game drives, 2 days driving around Kruger park, loads of other walking, driving,etc without any accidents or any problems. I do think you need to let them watch you going as rather let them watch mom and dad than the nanny? Ava obviously watched Zoe a lot but Zoe trained even faster and she only had me to observe. I have friends who left their children till later and they took much longer to train so I completely disagree that if you wait it is quicker.

  11. Ya for peeing in the potty!! I have enjoyed reading all the comments and your post becuase I am wondering WHEN I should start...Ave and Bryce ar 20 months.

    I think I'll wait....

    Happy Weekend!

  12. Oh potty training... I am about to start training my third child to use the potty :)

    My first- HELL!!!! Started showing signs at 17 months (!!!!!!)He was in daycare and was the youngest one there and saw all the big boys and girls going and wanted to go. He did pretty well for his age for about 2 months, then completely stopped (oddly enough- I found out I was pregnant about this time so maybe he sensed something was up?) I didn't push and didn't push until he was around 3. Then I thought this was getting rediculous! I knew he could do it but he was just being stuborn,so I 100 percent took away diapers from him. Only underwear- day and night (after at nighttime putting a diaper on him- he would poop. He was holding in poo all day for that diaper!)Sure enough, after taking away diapers he was day and night trained in about 3 days with very few accidents.

    Second child- My other son. Did the same thing as I did with my first- took away diapers completely a few months before his third birthday. He was completely day potty trained, then my daughter was born and he stopped using the bathroom. She was born late October and his birthday was in November and I wanted to get through the crazy holidays and a move we had planned before getting rid of diapers completely. On new years day, I stopped putting him in diapers again and he was completely day and night trained from that moment on. NO ACCIDENTS!

    My third- my daughter is turning 2 next month. She has lately refused to stay in even a sligtly damp diaper. She now tells me she has to poop and is VERY interested in the potty. I am not going to "train" her now- but the potty is out in the downstairs bathroom. She sits on it multiple times a day and does pee in it sometimes and has even pooped in it. I think once the holidays are over and spring is approching I will get rid of the diapers completely for her.

    My big trick to 3 day potty training..

    Day one- completely naked all day with potty in the living room (or room they stay in most of the time. when they go in the potty I make a HUGE deal about it including singing the "pee-pee in the potty song" (just make it up as I go along), calling daddy at work to tell him, calling Nana and grandma and who ever else will listen, stickers, special treat. ect. For accidents I simply say "Uh-oh! Next time lets try and get it into the potty."

    Day 2- Underwear on and potty still in the living room. I tone down the praise (I don't want the praise to become the sole focus so that they will only use the potty when praise is involved) but I make a big deal about my new big boy/girl. For accidents- I have them help me clean it up.

    Day 3- Potty in the bathroom, underwear and same as day 2 for accidents and praise. By this time- I usually do not have accidents!

  13. oh wow. i can't wait to see what develops! we've had the little pottys sitting around, but nothing happens on a regular basis. i'm with you, i really would prefer to just do it over a few days!!!

  14. Child 1 was potty trained by my MIL who was essentially his nanny. He was fully trained by 2 years 4 months when he went to school. It was a breeze. I am still struggling with Child 2. He is 4! He shows us that he is ready and then we act on it. Then it loses momentum. I also have that thing that attaches to the toilet - he hates it! Apparently he is fully trained at school. I don't easily get embarrassed by my kids but having a 4yr old in nappies is REALLY embarrassing. I would say that if they are ready to just go for it. Let V do it and maybe do one kid at a time. Good luck!

  15. Baby A basically trained herself, and very quickly, too. She was 27 months, which was long before I'd even planned to start talking about the potty. Definitely her timeline!

    Baby B still doesn't seem ready, although I think she's getting closer. I am not planning to force anything (at least not for a while yet...recognizing I might have to at some point [?]). I do agree that [most] kids will do it when they're ready...and I'm all for the short version, too!

    I had the exact same thought about the potty seat, not wanting to clean the miniature potty. After a few days, though, I realized that Baby A was cooking up excuses to sit on the potty = one-on-one time with Mommy. I bought the little potty to go next to the playroom so that it wouldn't take Baby A and me away from Baby B. That has worked really well. And cleaning out the little potty hasn't been a big deal, either.

    I will say that I'm very thankful Baby A is adaptable. She uses the little potty downstairs, and a potty ring on top of the regular potty seat upstairs. If we're at someone else's house (only happened a couple of times) she's fine to use the regular potty seat. (I kneel in front of her and wrap my arms around her to make sure she doesn't fall in...I'm thinking that might lead to psychological scarring! HA!). I've heard of some kids only being able to use one particular potty, and that would obviously present challenges.

    I'd say, let your kids sit on the potty when they ask. I think it's important for them to be comfortable with the physicality of it. And hopefully when they're ready, you'll have an easy time training.

    [Now I'm off to read the comments on this post to see if I can learn anything for B. I just posted about our current potty situation today. :) ]

  16. Oh, I haven't been big about the rewards, either. In my limited experience, I'd just say try to think through how your kiddos can manipulate the reward system.

    With A, her "reward" was flushing the potty. At first, she'd make two drops of tee and want to flush. And then two more. And then two more.

    I had to circumvent her little game, without crushing her spirit. (My gut is that there's a real psychology to all this...maybe it's bigger in my head than it really is...but it scares me! HA!) I would tell her "that's not enough to flush"...trying to get her to finish ALL her business before we flushed. I don't know how much she finally understood, versus that just being a function of time, but after a week or so, she was over that. And thank almost broke our toilet! Hahaha!!!

  17. Here is my post on potty training the Crazies:

    I think I started a couple of months before their 3rd birthday...haven't done naps or nighttime...I'll do it when they consistently start waking up dry...which they're not.

  18. Rachel8:26 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  19. Rachel8:34 pm

    Lots of good advice so far...

    Since I've worked with preschoolers so much - I've helped potty train dozens of kids, but only exclusively potty trained a handful or so.

    Each child is different. Some can do it at 18 months, this use to be a lot more common - maybe because the old style cloth diapers were uncomfortable wet and dirty? or possibly because the mom's were more diligent at getting a wet/dirty diaper off the baby because there were no plastic pants. or maybe because kids ran around more in the summer naked.

    But the average age to potty train is between 2 years 9 months and 3 years 9 months. A friend's daughter was totally potty trained on her own at 18 months - high communication skills via her mom teaching sign language. She's a few days younger than my Rue.

    Anyway ...

    Kendra wanted to potty train just after she turned 2. I didn't want 2 in diapers, so we worked hard at it. She always woke up dry in the morning. But she would wait until it was too late to tell me, and we would end up with pee all over the bathroom for a long time. All of her accidents were in or very close to the bathroom. Otherwise she was completely potty trained by 2 1/2 - night was never a problem, and poop was only a problem if she was sick.

    Vannan was a lot harder. We tried off and on as she showed interest, but she was nearly 3 before she caught on. Night took her a long time. But once she choose to do it (a few months before her 3rd birthday - as we reached the summer months) we had very few problems. ... Her biggest thing was she would "clean up" after herself. I always knew how many wet things were in the laundry by how many shirts she had on at bath time.

    My best friend was struggling with her semi autistic 4 year old, so I brought her home with me. We spent HOURS and HOURS sitting on the little saddle potty (she LOVED horses). It took me 2 weeks to get her to use the potty rather than a diaper or her pants. We used MnM's - lots and lots of MnMs. This was a ton of work - and at nearly 9, she still has lots of accidents, but 90% of the time she takes herself to the potty.

    Joel was about 60% trained with Bethie - then winter hit, and with all the heavy and bulky clothing, he quit. But as soon as we pulled out the shorts (March - with a June to 3) he was back at it and potty trained within a week - doing it all by himself. He is by far my easiest. Matthew (B's little brother) did about the exact same thing.

    I also trianed their Esther sometime just before her 3rd birthday, we had just started training her when we had the car accident - and it got to complicated with Karen pregnant and then when Paul was born with Downs. So I took over for her. Esther is a great example of waiting too long. She dug in her heels and nearly refused to do it. After 6 weeks of battling her on it, she knew the process and just refused to do it. Her mom was finally well enough (operation after Paul for an ovarian cyst) to take the kids back - I told them to be extremely firm that diapers were no longer an option.

    My sister trained her Shi just before she turned 2. They did "potty practice" ... basically, you put them in panties, and when they had an accident, you ran them back and forth between the potty and the accident like 10 times .. "here is where we put our potty" and "this is NOT where you put your potty" .... I never cared for it - and I noticed her M didn't train with it. At 3, they are still having lots of accidents - so one single method never works with 100% of the kids 100% of the time.

  20. Rachel8:35 pm

    Rue shows a ton of interest in the potty. We put her on every time we change her diaper and if we see she is trying to poop. We don't make a HUGE deal out of misses or taking her - but we do make a huge deal out of successes. We started putting her on the big potty with a ring at about 5 months old - she doesn't even like the little ones (yeah - no messes!). We keep a stool in the bathroom, so she can get up alone. She's just starting to undress by herself. But winter is coming, so I'm betting she'll potty train completely in the spring, like Joel did.

    My best advice is let them be aware of the process of "big people use the potty". Don't stress it. Let the kid lead the process - they may try and do really good for a few days and suddenly quit on you. Be excited about this new thing they are learning (it's not easy - you just spent 2 - 3 years teaching them to use a diaper) just like learning the alphabet or colors or anything else new. Potty training is a HUGE step toward independence. And do keep the night diapers until you are sure they are waking dry and can get to the potty at night.

    Almost all kids are trained by 3 1/2 - over 80%. So you've got a ways to go.

    I would definitely get more aggressive with it as they approach 3, talking about it and at least going through the motions. Let V do whatever she is comfortable with and follow her lead. You could be diaper free by the end of your summer.

    And start thinking of this when you purchase clothing. Buy things that are easy for them to get on and off. You may catch them naked quite a bit as they enjoy practicing the "taking off clothes" but the benefits on the other side are worth it.

    Rachel Roden
    Mom to 4 Blessings

  21. As you can see, I am waaaaay behind in my commenting. ;-)

    You know that we are currently busy with potty training. My problem is not so much with Nicola as it is with her teacher. The woman is determined to work my last nerve about this business.

    Nicola is doing really well so far, and even though she knows when it's coming she hasn't made the connection to try and go by herself yet. She's more than happy to go regularly when taken and use the loo, I'm sure it will all click eventually and then it will be smooth sailing from there.

    For night training, I'm not even thinking about that until day training is finished, although she does wake up dry most mornings anyway.

  22. What are you supposed to do when you have been planning a family vacation for months and then the potty training of the little one starts to run behind?Travel Potty Seat

  23. Wow i can say that this is another great article as expected of this blog.Bookmarked this site..


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