Toby is three years and almost three months old. Three months ago he would cry and complain if you even suggested he go near a potty. He knew what it was for – if you asked him where wees and poos go he would tell you they go in the toilet (thanks Bing Bunny!) but he still wouldn’t contemplate sitting on the potty or the toilet, even with his clothes on.
As we were moving house in July we weren’t about to start pushing things but did mention to him that perhaps he could start using the potty when we lived in our new house and he seemed fairly open idea. We went out and chose some big boy pants together and we got a chair type of potty (this one if you’re interested) – I realised that because he is so tall sitting on a standard potty was really uncomfortable for him.
He sat on the potty a couple of times but didn’t do anything then seemed to lose all interest so we just put it in the living room and mostly ignored it for a while. We asked occasionally if he would like to use it and about six weeks ago he said yes one night. So, we got into a bit of a routine; Toby would sit on the potty in front of the TV every morning and every evening before bed. But still we didn’t even get a drip. He obviously has good bladder control as he could sit on the potty for half an hour and do nothing but do a massive wee as soon as he got a nappy on.
We were quite happy carrying on like this and I was confident that Toby would get there in his own time. Near the beginning of September though nursery forced the issue a bit, and I’m still not entirely happy about it. When school started back nursery moved all the kids who will be starting school next year up into the pre-school room. All the kids except Toby. Nobody had mentioned anything about it up to that point but it turned out they didn’t want him to go into the pre-school room while he was still in nappies. However, I spoke to the manager and explained I didn’t want him being held back. I understood that there were no nappy changing facilities in the pre-school room but he’s only changed two or three times a day so it can’t be that much trouble for someone to take him to the other room to do it. I also thought that maybe seeing all the other children using the toilet might encourage Toby to do the same.
Anyway, nursery were actually fine and moved him up to the pre-school room the next week. But a week or two later when I went to pick the boys up they told me Toby had used the toilet and apparently didn’t want his nappy back on after, he wanted big boy pants. They suggested I put some in his bag the next day so if he asked again they could put him in them.
The next day, and the following week he wore his big boy pants at nursery but had lots of accidents. In fact I’m not convinced he did a wee on the toilet at all. We tried to keep up the pants at home but still had quite a few accidents and still no wee on the potty. It seemed to me that Toby was scared of doing a wee anywhere but in a nappy (or in his pants).
So last week we spent a whole day at home. Toby seemed to know when he needed a wee and would sit on the potty but still nothing came. He would start panicking when it felt like he was about to wee…but eventually he did one. A few drips at first and then a full proper wee! He did two more big wees on the potty that day, and didn’t have any accidents. But he did spend pretty much the whole day just sitting on the potty watching CBeebies! And he got a sticker every time he did a wee so that seemed to help too.
Both days at nursery last week he wore pants but still had a few accidents. He did manage a poo in the toilet though which he was very proud of. But by Thursday lunch time he was crying and begging me to put a nappy on him, and he’d woken up crying a couple of nights too, which I think must be related. So I put a nappy back on. On Saturday we tried pants again and although all his wees went in the potty he did two poos in his pants.
Since then he has only been wearing nappies and just doesn’t want to wear his pants. We have made progress though. He will now occasionally tell me he needs a wee (or sometimes just ‘I’m doing a wee!!’) or if I see him doing his ‘need a wee’ jiggle I will get him to sit on the potty and do it. So at home, most wees are going in the potty even though he is still wearing a nappy. We use cloth nappies and for that reason I don’t really want to go down the pull up route.
I had been trying to encourage Toby to wear his pants, and put him off nappies but I realised that if I don’t want to completely put him off I need to go back to listening to him and going with what he wants. And for the moment if he wants to wear nappies but still use the potty most of the time then I’m happy to go with that. I always said I would wait until he was ready and I think in the last couple of weeks I’ve been ignoring my own instincts. It’s come close to really causing an issue but hopefully by letting Toby go at his own pace he’ll get over whatever fear it is that he has and I’m sure it won’t be too long before he decides for himself that he is really ready for his big boy pants.
How old were your little ones when they potty trained? I would love to hear if any of you have had similar experiences to us.