Over the last few weeks, our potty training journey has continued to chug along. Toddler L has come a long way since those first tentative forays onto the potty. We’re not fully toilet trained yet, but I can see the light at the end of the potty training tunnel.
The title probably gave it away, but we’re currently in Week 7. That means in excess of 50 consecutive days dealing with someone else’s wee and poo. Yep, grim. Still though, potty training has to happen at some point and it’s probably better when they’re three-years old rather than 33-years old.
As mentioned in my Week 1 Update, we’re working with Huggies on our potty training journey. This includes using HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® training pants as her “big girl knickers”, as well as following their 6 Steps To Potty Success guide. So, without further ado, here’s what has – and hasn’t – been happening in the potty over the last six weeks:
Update And Progress – Week 7
Toddler L is doing really well. I hoped that we might have cracked potty training by now, but we aren’t quite there yet. Although we’re not at that point, each day is a step closer to the final dry goal. Compared to the first week, there has been an improvement. She started off well, so the improvement hasn’t been drastic, but we’re getting there.
At the time of writing, she has clocked up four dry days in the last seven. This is particularly impressive as we were away for two of these and another two were when she was at nursery. On these non-dry days, it’s not like she’s weeing in her HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® multiple times either – we’re talking about one accident each day versus five or six wees on the potty.
So, although I may measure success as ‘number of dry days’, it doesn’t tell the whole story. If I compare the number of wees in her HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® to the number of wees on the potty, the latter dwarfs the former. We’re talking something like 3 accidents versus 40 successful potty trips in the last week. That is very promising and shows how far she’s come.
We also appear to have got into a set wee routine. For example, she goes for a wee as soon as she gets up, then usually has another every 1.5 to 2.5 hours after that. So, a typical day looks like 7.30am, 10.00am, 12.15am, [nap], 3.00pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm. This consistency and routine makes it easier for me to anticipate when she needs to go, and thus ask her at the right time.
I guess that’s where we have a little stumbling block at the moment. Although she knows what she’s doing, it still feels like there’s a slight gap between head and bodily function. We’ve used the advice in Step 4: Learn Wet From Dry, as well as the learning layer (mimics a brief sensation of wetness in the day-time pants) and wetness indicator (encourages independence as little ones are able to see when they’ve had an accident) on her HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® training pants, but sometimes she either forgets or ignores.
For example, if she’s not reminded and encouraged to sit on the potty / toilet, then the likelihood is that she’ll just go in her HUGGIES® Pull-Ups®. She does take herself off to the toilet every now and then, but she’s still reliant on my prompt. I’m fine with that, but it would be nice to see that step change in her behaviour which makes her – and not me – responsible for going to the potty.
Although wees are great, the story of poos is less promising. Over the last seven weeks of potty training, I can count on both hands how many times she’s gone on the potty. She’s more than capable of doing so, but as alluded to above, either doesn’t clock that she needs to go or doesn’t care if she goes in her Pull-Ups. I *think* change is in sight though – she had three poos in her potty last week which is the most she’s had to date.
Potty training fail: Toddler L just had a wee and a poo on the potty…only issue is I forgot to put the removable pot back underneath!
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) August 7, 2017
One thing that has surprised me is that she’s more than happy to go anywhere. I had images of us having to lug her potty around with us, but luckily that hasn’t been the case. She’s happy to sit on a toilet when we’re out and about, which is a huge help. Two notable milestones I celebrated was when she had a wee in the woods and when she managed to hold on and have a poo in the toilets at Waitrose.
That being said, I have discovered that public toilets aren’t very toddler-friendly. You’d think more would be to accommodate kids with lower sinks and those inner toilet seats for smaller bums, but these facilities are lacking. As such, we decided to invest in a Potette travel potty which can be placed on the toilet to make it more her size. This allows her to sit in comfort when we’re out and about, rather than needing to be held.
Another thing to mention is staying dry at night. I thought this would come a lot further down the line, but we’ve had quite a few dry nights. Considering that’s roughly 12 hours without having a wee, she’s definitely learning to hold it, although again, we’re not at a point of moving to actual knickers at night time yet.
This is where Step 5: Be Consistent 24/7 has helped and reassured. For instance, I’ve learnt that staying dry at night is actually down to anatomical development – nerve pathways between the brain and bladder need to grow strong enough and the night-time slow down in urine production may not have kicked in yet. It will come with time.
The good thing though is that we’re being consistent. Not only is this in terms of her bedtime routine, but also because we’re using HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® night time. These look just like the day-time pants, but they have a slight difference – they have extra absorbency for night time protection, there’s no learning layer and the wetness indicator has a stars and moon design. This means that she’s still able to check her progress in the morning with the wetness indicator, but we know that they’re not going to leak if she has an accident during the night.
One challenge we have had relates directly to Step 6: Keep Up The Great Work. Being seven weeks in, motivations do start to wain – for us both. It’s not that she’s started to lose interest in potty training, but the main form of reward – i.e. the sticker chart – seems to have stopped motivating her.
As such, I was forced to step it up a gear and appeal to her greedy side. So, for the last two weeks, food and drink have become her potty training currency. For example, she was persuaded to have a wee with the promise of apple juice and even had a poo thanks to the lure of a Penguin chocolate biscuit. Usually though, it’s a sweet and sticker which has got her head back into the game.
In hindsight, I’d prefer not to use sugary snacks as a potty training bribe, but in times of crisis – and let’s be honest, potty training is just that – you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I’m envisaging issues down the line when she’s potty training and we stop the rewards, but I’m happy to park that for now and deal with it in the future.
The appeal of stickers during potty training appears to have worn off. I’ve therefore upped the game with 1 Haribo per wee and 2 for a poo.
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) August 17, 2017
Another challenge is nursery. As it was her third birthday the other day, she’s moved from the middle class (two to three year olds) up to the top class (three to four year olds). This is obviously fantastic from a development perspective as she’s doing more activities and learning alongside older kids, but I feel it’s hampered her potty training a bit.
When she was in the middle class, she was regularly taken to the toilet due to set nappy change times for the younger toddlers, which acted as that prompt. Now though, there’s an expectation that she’ll take herself off to the toilet on her own, with less hand holding by the staff.
This invariably means that she’s had more accidents at nursery than when at home with me. This can be quite frustrating as it sometimes feels like we’re making good progress on the non-nursery days, but then go backwards on a Tuesday and Wednesday when she’s at nursery. I’ve talked to the staff about this and they say she’s good at taking herself to the toilet, but the fact remains that she’s not had a dry day at nursery since moving classes.
I think it’s important to focus on the positive though. Yes, potty training can be frustrating and annoying. At times it feels like you’ve gone one step forward, only to go one step back the next day. However, on the whole, she’s doing really well and I think we’re 75% there. With some extra work – from us both – I’m hopefully that we can have it cracked in the not too distant future.
What’s your experience of potty training? Did your little one crack it straight away, or did it take a little while to get there? Let me know below!
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Huggies.
Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link(s).