Saturday, 1 October 2011

Potty Training - How to?

Our youngest daughter is being an absolute trouper at the moment.  She has stopped wearing her pull up nappies during the day.  And although I have had to deal with a fair few accidents.  I strangely get the accidents when we are at home and not when we are out and about.  Perhaps because I am overly conscious of the need to visit a toilet whenever there is one nearby when we are out, but at home we just kick back and relax and everyone forgets to go.

Either way, she's doing much better than her sister did at this stage in the process and I put most of that down to the age that we've done it.

Our eldest started Nursery at 2 1/2 years old.  Nursery, at that time, required children to be, wherever possible, toilet trained.  So we attempted to stop wearing nappies and placed a potty in the corner of the room when she had only just turned 2.  It was quite hard work.  She regularly had accidents at Nursery, which went on for months.  And having a portable potty didn't seem to help, as there was no requirement for her to 'hold it' long enough to walk through to an actual toilet.

With our youngest I deliberately waited until she was nearly 3 years old.  And although she hadn't started telling us she needed to go, we found ourselves with three clear days at the end of the summer holidays when her sister was off on a vacation with Grandma and Grandad and I was off work.  So I thought I'd give it a whirl.  The pull ups came off, and I began to ask her regularly if she needed to go. Though I don't subscribe to the "put them on the potty every 15 minutes" method.  Come on!  You're bound to get lucky doing that.  No one learns anything and it's frankly a pain.  Do it at sensible times.  Often if your child eats and drinks when you do, your schedule will be not far off hers!

I quickly discovered that she always needed to go half an hour after having a drink, and then again 10 minutes after that.  The regularity of it helped me, and her.  But when I took her to Nursery that first day in September I was under no illusions that she'd be able to stay dry all day.  She'd managed it at home really quickly (and surprisingly), but there'd be too many distractions surely?  Apparently not.  The first few days at Nursery she came home dry.  I was amazed.  We have had accidents, but they are less than once a day.  And she's improving all the time.  And strangely she's only now starting to shout out "I need a wee-wee" when she disappears into the toilet, rather than just going.  This helps (as I often need to run to the bathroom to check that the step is in the right place for her to get up, and the child seat is on.  It seems that she was ready to get on with it, but wasn't interested in telling us before now!

My recommendation is not to rush.  Leave 'toilet training' as long as you can.  Don't feel pressured to do it.  After all, is not you that's doing it, it's your child.  Let them tell you when they are ready, and it'll be far easier than you'd expect.  Or at least leave it until they have half a chance, as many children simply don't have that kind of control physically until they are at least 2 and a half, if not older.  The worst move is to do it too early and end up upsetting your child, who will try there best, but just not be able to comply.

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