Getting ready to start primary school

Toby looking super smart in his school uniform

Schools have now broken up for the summer holidays and that means it’s only six weeks until Toby will be starting in Reception. And that means just six weeks to get Toby ready to start primary school. I know lots of children are super excited about starting school – they can’t wait to get their uniform on and go off every day to learn and play and make new friends. Toby though is going to take a little more convincing!

Although he says he is looking forward to starting school, and will be joined by a few of his friends from nursery, he is still quite apprehensive about the whole thing. This seems to be manifesting itself in some pretty out of character behaviour, and this week a couple of bed-wetting incidents too. He was only four a couple of weeks ago so he’s still quite young really and I think it’s going to take quite a lot of adjusting to get ready for school. Read more

Toby is four years old

Four years old! How on earth did the tiny squishy baby that we brought home from the hospital turn into a four year old who is going to be starting school in a couple of months?!

I last wrote an update when Toby was three and a half and in some ways he’s changed so much since then, and in others he’s exactly the same! He is now 110 cm tall, which means he’s grown another 4 cm in the last six months and he is still on the 91st centile. He weighs about 2 stone 10 lb (17.2kg) so is still super skinny even though he eats really well. He is mostly wearing age 5-6 clothes now, although some of his pants are 18-24 months because his bum is tiny! Oh and he’s got size 10 ½ feet. Read more

Potty training // 8 months on

Like most things parenting related potty training was something I had no idea about. I’d heard of kids being out of nappies before their second birthdays and others being closer to four before they potty trained. As with most other things we took a fairly relaxed approach to getting Toby out of nappies, and let him take the lead.

He had no interest in the potty for a long time. We had one in the house from him being about two I think and he would occasionally sit on it fully clothed but wouldn’t entertain the idea of sitting on it with a bare bottom. I wrote back in October about our reluctant potty trainer – at that point he was three and three months and although we had finally got him weeing on the potty at home he was still insisting on wearing nappies.

I realised I have never written an update about what happened next…so here it is. A week or two after I wrote the last post Toby decided he would wear pants instead of his nappy and once he had made the decision that was that really.

Toby in the early days of potty training

For the first five months or so we hardly had any accidents. He was still wearing a nappy at night at first, and it was often wet when I took it off in the morning. But I realised if I took it off as soon as he woke up it was actually dry, and he was doing a wee in it once he was already up. Read more

How to make your own reward chart (and does it work?)

I don’t really have a parenting style. I try and be fair and remain calm (although that doesn’t always happen) but most of all I try and be consistent. One thing I have learnt from my years as a teacher is that children need to know what the rules and boundaries are, and for them to stay the same. Quite often, knowing what is expected of them, and receiving praise when those expectations are met, is enough. But sometimes they might need a little bit more encouragement… and that’s where a reward chart can come in.

You can buy lots of reward charts, or download templates online, but when I decided to try using a reward chart with Toby I decided we would make our own. And it’s super easy.

Both reward charts

If you want a reward chart to work I think it’s really important that you involve your child in deciding what will be rewarded and what form those rewards will take. Toby is only three and a half so there was quite a bit of input from me, but if your child is older then you can probably let them make a few more of the decisions. Read more

Toby is three and a half

Toby was three and a half a few weeks ago. On the one hand it really doesn’t seem that long since his third birthday but then when I think about it that was before we even moved from Scotland, which seems like it was ages ago now.

When you spend every day with a child it’s easy not to notice the changes and developments they make but when I was reading through Toby’s three year update I realised just how much he has changed in the last six months.

Three and a half year old Toby in his sunglasses on the slide

I guess I’ll start with the vital statistics – Toby is now 106 cm tall so he’s grown 4 cm in the last 6 months. He’s still sitting above the 91st centile for his height so he’s still tall for his age but he’s not off the top of the chart like he was when he was two! Read more

The reluctant potty trainer

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.

the-reluctant-potty-trainer-on-his-potty-watching-tv

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.