OK, so I’m going to say it quietly – Toddler L is potty trained. I realise that there’s a HUGE chance that writing this post is going to jinx us, because, you know, sod’s law. I’ve held off publishing this for a number of weeks, but I reckon I’m as sure as I’m ever going to be that this phase is done and dusted. So now is the time to shout it from the rooftops – or, quietly write about it.
For anyone who’s not been keeping track of the sprog’s bowel movements – if not, why the hell not?! – we started potty training back in July (week 1 update). As tends to happen with time, days rolled into weeks and weeks rolled into months as our potty training journey continued. As we hit early September, I wrote a week 7 update where I put us at around 75% potty trained.
In retrospect, that was probably a little bit low as we then went on a two-week run with no accidents – something that had never happened before. This coincided with a 1,500 mile road trip via Blackpool, a remote Scottish island and Crieff Hydro – we expected the worst, but she was brilliant when it came to going in public toilets, sitting on the potty at the side of the road and holding ‘it’.
I’ve therefore probably considered her ‘there’ for the last four or so weeks when it’s come to potty training. I expected there to be a definitive event which would confirm she’s potty trained – but there isn’t. What I’ve learnt is that there’s a slow transition from not potty trained to potty trained – it’s not like one day you wake up and it’s done. Instead, going on the potty for wees and poos just becomes the norm as the number of accidents become minimal.
Toddler L: “I had a poo in potty!”
Me: “Want me to help wipe?”
L: “No, Mummy help me.”
Sometimes not being the favourite is great.
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) October 15, 2017
That’s not to say that accidents don’t happen. We’ve had a few accidents – particularly at nursery – but that doesn’t mean she’s not potty trained. It just means that you need to continually ‘manage’ the process as you’re the adult. For instance, she’ll take herself off to the toilet a lot of the time, but if we’re going out or if I know she’s not been in a while, I need to ‘persuade’ her to sit on the potty and see what happens. At the end of the day, she’s still a three-year old and needs support.
As part of potty training now being the norm, we’ve also phased out all of those little rewards. We used sticker charts to start with, but then upped the reward to sweets when she’d successfully gone in the potty. I’m not sure if the latter is recommended, but hey, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Now though, when she has a wee or poo, she gets verbal praise, but the stickers and sweets are no more. This felt a bit mean to start with, but is probably a good thing considering the growing childhood obesity epidemic.
All in all, potty training hasn’t been as bad as I expected, Sure, dealing with someone else’s piss and shit is never pleasant, but it wasn’t that bad. The process lasted longer than I thought it would, but every kid is different and you’re all trying to figure your way through it together. Now, it’s just about staying on top of things and not letting it slip – keep supporting, keep encouraging and keep giving her the tools to succeed.
Either way, this is a milestone I’m more than happy to have reached and it’s something I’m pleased I won’t have to revisit for another three years. By that time, I hope Toddler L is old enough to potty train her brother! What was your kid’s potty training journey like? How did you know when they were potty trained? Let me know below.