Back in May, I wrote a post about how Toddler L wasn’t yet potty about toilet training – I know, genius title, you don’t need to lavish me with praise. Well, fast forward two short months, and she’s now not only ready for potty training, but is actually already a week into her journey. In a seven day period which has seen plenty of highs, some lows and way too much wee and poo, I’m proud of how far she – and I – have come!
We’ve still got a long way to go and are nowhere near officially potty trained, but this week has actually been easier and more successful than I envisaged. Potty training is tough – and very grim – but it’s just one of those things that has to happen. At the time of writing, Toddler L is regularly weeing on the potty, the frequency of accidents are decreasing, she’s had one fully dry day and has even had a couple of dry nights. Considering that we were away for two days and she spent an afternoon at my bro’s, she’s done really well as things have been a bit disrupted.
Like most things parenting, potty training has seen a large degree of making it up as I go along. After all, I’ve got no experience of potty training – well, apart from doing it myself 30 years ago. Luckily, I’ve had HUGGIES® Pull-Ups onside to help me through it with both their wealth of knowledge and training pants. As part of working together, I’ll be writing a couple of posts documenting our potty training journey, including stuff like why we decided to start, what ‘stuff’ we’re using, how she’s getting on, and most importantly, how I’m getting on being literally up to my elbows in toddler bodily fluids.
Knowing She’s Ready
This was a question I posed back in May. At that point, I deemed that she wasn’t ready yet – mainly because she wasn’t fussed when her nappy was wet / dirty, she showed no awareness when she was going in her nappy and she didn’t tell us she’d been. However, over the last few weeks, something changed. She became more aware, actively wanted to ditch her nappies when in the house and nursery told us that she’d had a few wees on the toilet.
As a result, we gave her more of an opportunity to go on the potty when at home. We didn’t properly start potty training, it was more about slowly introducing it when she didn’t have her nappy on at home. To my surprise, she had a few wees and poos on the potty, which I took as a good sign and that she must be ready.
For confirmation, I checked out Huggies’ 6 Steps To Potty Success, which is a guide to potty training packed with loads of useful info. Step 1 features a useful interactive quiz showing the signs of potty training readiness – so things like ‘does your child stay dry for 2 hours’ and ‘can your child pull their pants up and down’. On filling this in, I was able to tick seven of the eight boxes which told me that she was ready to start potty training.
On deciding that she was ready, the next stage was getting on with it. Over a couple of days period, we got together everything we thought we’d need and we were also sent a few bits and bobs from Huggies. Our potty training essentials include:
- Downstairs potty
- Upstairs potty
- Toddler step stool
- HUGGIES® Pull-Ups training pants – day-time and night-time for consistency
- Reward chart with stickers
- Potty training book
- Dettol wipes
- Baby wipes / toilet roll
- Antibacterial hand gel
We already had a lot of the stuff we needed for the start of potty training. We have one potty downstairs and one upstairs, which means she’s in easy reach of a potty wherever she is in the house. We also have a toddler step stool in the bathroom so that she can reach the sink and get into the habit of washing her hands.
We stocked up with stickers and made a basic wall chart to record how many times she had a poo or wee each day – as someone who loves an Excel spreadsheet, I massively had to rein in my desire to create the ultimate potty training spreadsheet! As such, we have something pretty simple – days of the week, with a star sticker being a poo and any other sticker being a wee, along with the time and any significant notes, e.g. dry all night. She loves stickers so has definitely been motivated by the chart.
We also have HUGGIES® Pull-Ups – which I talk about below – along with various wipes etc for cleaning up those accidents. We decided to purchase a personalised potty training book from Penwizard as well – Toddler L enjoys books, so we thought this would be a nice way to engage her the most and explain everything that needed to happen. We may find that there’s other stuff we need as we get further in, but this stuff has been all we’ve needed for the first week.
I also read through all of the helpful info on Huggies 6 Steps To Potty Success. This included Step 2: Saying Goodbye To Nappies, which had stuff on getting your kid excited about potty training by letting them choose their Pull-Ups and telling friends and family, as well as Step 3: Start Practicing, which had some really useful info on creating a potty training routine.
Proper Pants Vs Pull-Ups Training Pants
One of the key decisions is around whether you go with proper pants / knickers or with pull-ups. We made the decision to go down the latter route and Huggies sent us some samples of their Pull-Ups training pants for both day and night. Obviously all kids are different, so what works for one might not work for another, but our experience of the Pull-Ups has been good so far.
The Pull-Ups are designed to create a balance between safety and independence. The pants encourage learning and independence, but there isn’t the fear or risk of having an accident and soaking their clothes. This also gives confidence and security to the parent.
The HUGGIES® Pull-Ups come in two Disney designs – a blue Lightning McQueen and a pink Minnie Mouse / Princesses. Toddler L much prefers the ‘boys’ Cars design which made me particularly proud before she’d even started potty training. In addition, they do a day and night version – these are exactly the same for consistency but the night-time ones don’t mimic a feeling of wetness as the day-time ones do as they have extra absorbency instead. This means that you don’t have the confusion of pants in the day, but nappies at night.
The Pull-Ups have a number of features which aid the potty training journey. (1) they are thin, so are more like real underwear than nappies, (2) they are stretchy, which helps when your kid pulls them up and down (‘I do’), (3) they have resealable sides which makes it easier to check for accidents, (4) the day-time pants have a learning layer which briefly mimics the feel of real wet underwear (‘I feel’), and (5) they have a wetness indicator on the front which fades when wet (‘I see’). The night time pants have an extra absorbency layer for a great night’s sleep (‘I sleep well’).
I did worry a little bit about whether we were adding an unnecessary stage to the process by not going straight to pants, but a week in, I’m pleased we’ve done it this way. Not only do they mimic real pants because she can pull them up and they briefly feel wet if she’s had a wee, but they provide additional help and security for parent and child.
For instance, I feel confident when we go out because I know I’m not going to have to deal with pissy clothes. If she has a wee, then it’s just simply a matter of putting on some new Pull-Ups. In addition, the visual signs on the Pull-Ups are easier to discuss with her than a new feeling. For example, she knows that she’s had an accident when the steering wheel disappears on the front of the nappy. I can therefore ask things like “is your steering wheel still there”, which is easier for her to understand than “is your nappy wet”.
Potty Training Week 1 Progress
As alluded to at the start, Toddler L has done really well during her first week – particularly as it’s been a bit disturbed by being away from home for a couple of days. As I’m a stats man, let me hit you wish some facts from the last week:
- 22 wees on the potty
- 3 poos on the potty (although I’m not sure all 3 count due to diarrhoea!)
- Multiple wees and 2 poos in the Pull-Ups (I didn’t note these down but wish I had!)
- 1 poo in the garden
- 2 wees on the floor
- 1 dry day
- 3 dry nights
- 171 miles between most southerly and most northern wee
- Earliest wee on potty = 7am, latest wee on potty = 9.30pm
Day 1: The day started with Toddler L crowning her new potty with a wee and a poo at the same time – this was particularly surprising considering I’d already changed dirty Pull-Up that morning. After a couple more tiny poos, it became clear she had a bit of diarrhoea. Great way to start potty training!
Day 2: We woke to Toddler L having a fully dry Pull-Up all night. She had a wee first thing, but the day was a bit disturbed by heading to Alton Towers. Still, she managed two further wees – one on the toilet in the hotel and one in the public toilets when we were out. We assumed we’d have to take the potty everywhere, but luckily this doesn’t seem to be the case as she’ll use public toilets.
Day 3: She had one wee when we were out on a public toilet, then another before bed when we got home from our night away. Going away had impacted the process as we couldn’t stick to time / routine as much. When we got home, she had a poo in her Pull-Ups despite sitting on the toilet just minutes before, which was slightly annoying.
Day 4: She had her first dry day after going for a wee on her potty five times during the day. We were at home most of the day which I think helped as we could stick to a regular routine. No poo anywhere today though.
Day 5: She had her second dry night and continued to do well with wees during the day – another five in total. However, she did have one or two accidents today, including a poo outside when she was nappy free. She’s previously had poos on the potty, but seems reluctant at the moment, preferring to hold it in then going when my back is turned.
Day 6: She had her second consecutive dry night and another successful day with six wees on the potty. She did have two accidents during the afternoon though as she was at my brother’s house and he wasn’t as on the ball as he could have been!
Day 7: Three dry night in a row! Again, she had another five wees during the day, along with one wee and one poo in her Pull-Ups, along with a wee in the bath – I thought only babies did that!
All in all, it’s been a pretty good first week of potty training and it’s not been as bad / stressful as I feared. I’ve been impressed and proud at how independent she’s been. She’s a very independent and confident little kid anyway, but she doesn’t want my help with any of the process. She’s happy to go over to the potty, pull down her Pull-Ups, sit there, do her thing, wipe herself and pull her Pull-Ups back up. She even wants to carry the wee upstairs in the potty and put it into the toilet herself.
What I’ve noticed is that Toddler L isn’t fully at the point of determining when she needs to go. There’s been times she’s run over to her potty and done something, but the majority of time is due to a reminder – either me saying “shall we sit on the potty” or an hourly timer going off which I’ve been setting. This is fine as she’s still weeing on the potty, but it does complicate things slightly – e.g. when we’re out – as she’s not always letting us know when she needs to go.
I’ve also been really surprised that she’s been dry through the night on multiple occasions. I always thought this stage came later – and it still might – but the fact she’s gone to bed at 8pm and woken up at 6.30am without emptying her bladder in the night is pretty surprising. We might not be able to crack day and night time potty training at the same time, but this has been an unexpected – and promising – sign.
As we start Week 2, I don’t see anything fundamentally different changing. She’s doing well and I hope we can keep that momentum going. As she’ll be at nursery for two days after missing it last week, this could create a challenge – how on the ball they are will be interesting to see. We’ve also got to tackle poos on the potty a bit more – the fact that she’s only had poos on the potty on one day means I need to be a bit more on it and find a way to persuade her to go.
What’s your experience of potty training? Are you potty training now? Do you have any tips / tricks? Let me know below!
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Huggies.