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. We left it for a while anyway, and then on Christmas Eve he decided he didn’t need a nappy at night either and he has only had one accident in the night since.

It hasn’t been entirely plain sailing though. He has always left it until the last minute before going for a wee and so we would sometimes get a dribble in his pants when he didn’t quite get there in time. (I was exactly the same when I was little though – I can remember running upstairs to the loo and then weeing on the bathroom floor and telling my mum ‘I didn’t just make it mummy’).

A few months ago though the dribbles starting getting more and more and then suddenly he was having wee accidents all the time. It was like he just wouldn’t bother going to the toilet and do a full wee in his pants. I tried really hard not to get cross with him but it was so frustrating. It wasn’t as if we were out of the house and couldn’t get him to the toilet in time – he would literally just stand in the living room and do a wee.

When it first happened Toby told us that he didn’t know he had needed a wee. There was one day and he kept saying he couldn’t hear his ladder and we couldn’t for the life of us figure out what he was talking about. Eventually we realised he meant his bladder – he said it was too quiet and he didn’t hear it telling him he needed a wee!

At this point we introduced a reward chart – Toby would get a move on his chart if he had dry pants at the end of the day (and another if he stayed in bed until the sun came out on his Groclock – but that’s another story!). We also went back to just making him sit on the potty or toilet every hour or so, and before every meal or before we went out – rather than asking him if he needed a wee, or relying on him going by himself.

This worked a treat and within a few days the wee accidents had stopped. My friend suggested to me after that the accidents could have had a physical cause rather than just laziness on Toby’s part. She had heard that sudden apparent loss of bladder control could be related to a growth spurt. I don’t know how true that is but Toby certainly shot up around the same time we were having issues. I suppose it could make sense that when everything is growing, presumably including nerves and muscles then messages might not get through to the brain as they’re supposed to.

Anyway, all was well for a while and then a few weeks later, Toby started pooing in his pants instead of on the potty or toilet! Again it was the same thing, we would be at home and it seemed like he just wasn’t bothering to go. Again he told us he didn’t know he needed to go, even though he hadn’t had any issues previously. And again I tried, and failed, not to get cross with him about it.

Looking back, I don’t know whether it was due to the fact he was having softer than normal poos (sorry, TMI) and so it felt different and he genuinely didn’t know they were coming. It was just so frustrating though, and trying to get pooey pants off without getting poo everywhere is so hard!

So, the reward chart has made a return, and fingers crossed we have been accident-free again for a good few weeks now.  Oh, and in an effort to make it a bit more light-hearted, instead of me getting annoyed we came up with a song – it goes ‘Poo in the potty, poo in the potty…. where does your poo go? In the potty!’ It might sound silly but it definitely helped reinforce the message.

Toby still uses the potty at home during the day, but that’s only because we don’t have a toilet on the same floor as the living room, and if I had to take Gabe with me to take Toby to the bathroom every time it would drive me mad! To be honest I should probably be making him go by himself now but he has to get his step out, sort the toilet seat out…and given that he still leaves it to the last minute a lot of the time I’d be worried he wouldn’t make it. So for now the potty lives in the hallway and we manage like that.

Speaking of Gabe, he loves sitting on the potty and copying Toby. If you ask him where his wee is he will point to the front of his nappy and point to the back for poo, and if you ask him if he’s done a poo he will usually deny it! He’s not two until August and I am in no hurry to potty train him either – but I am going to encourage his sitting on the potty, and hopefully we won’t end up with a three year old who is scared of it, like we did with Toby.

Our next challenge with Toby then, is trying to teach him how to wipe his own bottom, ready for starting school in September. He just finds it really difficult to reach somehow, and I’m not quite sure how to help him – any tips would be very gratefully received! Oh, and I suppose standing up to wee will come somewhere along the line but I’m not in any hurry for that development really!

So, after a shaky start, and despite a few recent hiccups, potty training has actually been relatively stress free for us. What age did your little one potty train? Did they get it straight away or did you have lots of accidents? I’d love to hear your stories so please feel free to let me know your story in the comments.

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